January 2006

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Eugene Volokh catches an apparent problem in an article in Oregon State’s Daily Barometer:

According to a press release issued by the Women’s Center, 2,000 rapes occur every five minutes.

This amounts to the claim that, on average, every woman in the United States is raped once every 9 months, which is absurd. Eugene tracks down the actual press release, which says:

About 2,000 rapes are committed daily at the rate of about one every 5 minutes.

That’s completely different from the newspaper quote. But it’s still not right: One every five minutes would only be 288 per day. That’s a seven-fold discrepancy. I don’t know which of those numbers is correct, but that sentence is definitely wrong.

Eugene goes on to find some other statistics that make more sense. You can read the rest if you want to.

I’m more interested in one of the comments, by someone called dk35, who I think felt that Eugene was minimizing the problem of rape by focusing on the statistics:

Who doesn’t think rape isn’t a serious problem? What I don’t get is why you need statistics at all to convince people that rape is a serious problem.

What I don’t get is how else dk35 expects people to learn that rape is a serious problem. Divine inspiration? By being raped?

Here’s why you need statistics: I have never been raped. I have never even met someone who told me they were raped. There has been no rape in my life. By my direct observation and by second-hand accounts, the incidence of rape is exactly zero.

It is only through indirect evidence such as reliable statistical reports that I can be aware of the depressing frequency of rape.

Google’s recent launch of the Chinese Google service is attracting a lot of attention because Google has agreed to censor the results in accord with Chinese law.

I feel about this the same way I did when Microsoft censored its blogs: In China, the only alternative to censored service is no service at all. I think that even partial service is better than none, because the censored topics are not the only things people want to find on the web.

But here’s what I don’t get: Suppose Google built a complete data center in China with its own database and its own googlebots. The googlebots would scan the web as usual, following links wherever they go. However, when the bots attempted to follow a link to censored content, the Chinese government firewall would block access, and the bots wouldn’t add those blocked pages to the index. The resulting database would therefore contain only materials that passed Chinese censorship. No one would blame Google for this.

Instead, Google scans much of the web outside of China, and then omits pages blocked by the Chinese firewall from its result sets. The same search results are available to users as if the data center were entirely within China, but now people blame Google for the censorship.

Like others, I’m angry about the censorship of Google results in China, but I think the proper target for our anger is the Chinese government.

Blonde Justice is a legal blog run by a public defender who prefers to remain anonymous and thus styles herself after the Elle Woods character played by Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2.

I worry about people who run anonymous blogs. Not that I distrust their motives or anything like that. I just worry because so many of them aren’t very good at keeping it anonymous. Slowly, bit by bit, they give themselves away: Little bits of description about their city, references to events reported in the local news, their age or occupation.

Anonymous legal bloggers are especially vulnerable. If a blogger reveals that he’s a 38-year old defense lawyer in a small two-partner firm in Cleveland, it only takes an hour or so of browsing on-line attorney biographies to figure out who the author is. I’ve figured out a couple of them just out of monkey curiosity. If I knew more about the legal system, I could probably figure out a few more.

I’d also have to be more motivated. Other people are a lot more motivated than I am, and several famous bloggers have been unmasked, such as Washington sex kitten Jessica Cutler, who blogged as Washingtonienne. (Of course, when you’re a Senate staffer sleeping with other Senate staffers for money, a lot of people are gonna come looking for you.) More recently, South Knox Bubba unmasked himself before someone else could do it.

It takes a smart person to stay anonymous for a long time.

So how smart is Blonde Justice? Check out her answer to one of those annoying question lists that keep going around:

Four Places You’ve Been on Vacation

You know, no one really knows where the Simpsons live. Yes, Springfield, but in what state? I’ve always thought I’d figure it out by where they go on vacation. A family isn’t going to say “Yippee! We’re going to ____!” and name the state where they live. By process of elimination then, someday we should know where they live. Therefore, I had to geographically anonymized this section. Sorry.

On a sailboat
On a cruise ship
Tropical Islands
Central America

Blonde Justice is that smart. And that paranoid. I gotta admire that.

I managed to move things along a bit on the D200 front. Sort of.

Last thursday, I just queried Adorama about my order for a D200 and got this response:

Please be advised that you are at the top of our waiting list, however to this point we have only received one shipment from Nikon for very few cameras & have not gotten any since.

Unfortunately it is not in our hands we are relying on Nikon to supply us & so far they have not come through they way we were expecting.

We apologize for any delays & inconveniences & thank you for your patronage.

Sigh. I’ve never had trouble with Adorama before, and really, I’m not having trouble now. The problem is that Nikon production can’t keep up with the spike in demand for D200 bodies. Worse, Nikon isn’t committing to a delivery schedule with its dealers.

What was weird is that the major online camera stores like Adorama aren’t receiving new shipments from Nikon, but I keep hearing about people buying them from the Best Buy and Circuit City online stores. They’ll just keep checking the websites until they see D200 bodies in stock, then they’ll quickly order one. Here I was trying to buying one from a dedicated camera store, and Nikon keeps shipping new ones to the big electronics chains.

I decided that with Adorama’s honest but unsatisfying response, I might as well try to snag one from one of the big stores.

I had no luck at Circuit City, but I snared one Thursday morning at Best Buy. I ordered it with overnight delivery so that I’d get it on Friday and be able to play with my new toy all weekend. They sent me 3 emails confirming my order, and I started obsessively checking the order status on the web site to see when it would ship.

Meanwhile, I dealt with another problem. My order at Adorama included Nikon’s new 18-200mm VR lens. That wasn’t shipping either because it was also backordered. Best Buy and Circuit City don’t even sell DSLR lenses, so I had no way to get an 18-200 VR lens for the D200 body, and without a lens, it’s useless.

What I had to do was order a lens that Adorama had in stock, so that I’d have something to take photos with until the 18-200 came.

My first thought was to order one of the cheap kit lenses that Nikon ships with some of their cameras, such as their 18-55mm lens for $160. But that would be a bit of a waste, because once the 18-200 came, it would completely subsume the 18-55 and I’d never need it again.

My second thought was to order one of the other specialty lenses I’d been thinking of ordering at a later date. But which one? I could order the 12-24mm wide-angle zoom lense for $920, but that’s a lot of money to spend right now, and do I really want to do nothing but take wide-angle photos for the next few weeks? The 10.5mm fish-eye lens was cheaper at $570, but that’s a trick lens that should be used sparingly.

At the opposite end of the focal range is Nikon’s 70-200mm telephoto lens. Seeing just the numbers for the focal length, you might think this lens would also be subsumed by the 18-200 lens, but if you look at the specifications and reviews, it’s actually a professional quality lens. It also has a professional quality price of $1650 which is way too expensive for me.

My third thought was to order Nikon’s 17-55mm lens. Again, don’t let the focal length fool you. Unlike the 18-55mm kit lens, this is a piece of high-quality professional glass. It can take magnificent, sharp, beautiful pictures. As it should for $1200. It would be nice to have, but that’s a steep price.

I finally settled on a lens I hadn’t given much thought to until now: A 35mm f/2 lens for $305. That’s a prime lens, meaning it only has one focal length and cannot zoom in and out. However, because of the simplicity of the non-zoom design, it produces a high-quality image. What it lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in image quality.

Also, at 35mm, it’s what’s known as a “normal” lens: Its field of view is considered close to the field of view of the human eye. Years ago, before zoom lenses of today’s high quality were available, many beginning photographers would start out with a normal lens. I figure that working with a non-zooming normal lens will help me practice thinking about how to compose pictures.

So that’s what I ordered from Adorama, requesting overnight delivery to arrive with the camera.

Thursday evening, however, I noticed that there was a message I had missed on the answering machine. It must have come in while I was out. It was a call from Best Buy because they needed to confirm the shipping address for security purposes.

Understand, they had my email address if they wanted to reach me, and they had the Order Status page on the web site to let me know to contact them. Instead of using either of those, they left phone messages for me. By the time I returned the call, it was too late for Friday delivery.

As I sit here, UPS tracking shows that my camera left the warehouse in Ohio and is now, for some reason, in Rockford, Illinois, before its trip to Chicago tomorrow.

The lens, on the other hand, was shipped on time by Adorama and arrived on Friday. Ain’t she a beaut’?

Nikon 35mm f/2D AF Lens
Larger ImageNikon 35mm f/2D AF Lens

An object suitable for aesthetic contemplation. And not much else.

The Volokh Conspiracy has a post about the Google subpoena, and a comment by someone using the name DEGOP has this to say about the definition of pornography:

“Prevailing community standards” is the only test worth a darn. We abandon it at our peril. The problem is that community standards in San Francisco are a lot worse than they are in, say, Kansas. Therefore, on the Internet, serious protections have to be in place. Otherwise, the children in Kansas might end up as corrupted as the children in San Francisco, even though their parents try to protect them.

This is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, “prevailing community standards” is no test at all, since no person seeking to produce, distribute, or consume sex-themed materials could possibly know what that standard means. It’s a travesty of justice for our courts use such a vague and unpredictable “test” to decide people’s liberty.

Second, if DEGOP is correct about the relative standards of San Francisco and Kansas, then a lot of people would say that San Francisco’s standards are a lot better than in Kansas, because they permit more pornography. According to the 60 Minutes story “Porn in the U.S.A.”, Americans spend $10 billion a year on porn. Wherever you make pornography available to people, they buy it, rent it, and use it. To millions of people, porn is not a problem on the internet but one of its many enjoyable features.

Third, DEGOP may be wrong about the relative standards in San Francisco and Kansas. Using U.S. census figures, Wikipedia, and an internet strip club guide, we can construct a crude proxy for community standards. San Francisco has 21 strip clubs for a population of 744000, or one per 35000 residents, whereas Kansas has 36 clubs for 2.7 million residents, or one per 76000. A significant difference, but not exactly night and day.

But wait, DEGOP is comparing the entire state of Kansas to a densely populated California city. If we look at California as a whole, we find 212 strip clubs serving a population of 36 million, giving it one strip club per 170000 people. Put another way, Kansas has five times as many strip clubs per person as California.

So, this DEGOP person can’t even judge the “community standards” correctly in his own argument, picking regions of his choice. It’s absurd to make “community standards” into a legal test.

It seems to me that the internet itself is a community, and the prevailing standard here is broader and more permissive than anywhere else in the world. A lot of us like it that way.

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Chuck Norris frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just not his own.

I first saw Chuck Norris in 1978’s Good Guys Wear Black (directed by Ted Post, who may not be famous, but sure has been busy).

Good Guys Wear Black

I can’t really remember much of the story, but Norris was the man of few words we have all come to know, out to avenge something or other. The big fight at the end had a stunt which was featured in all the coming attractions: The bad guy tries to run Chuck over with his car, but Chuck leaps up just in time to kick through the windshield, killing the bad guy. (You can just barely see it reflected in the sunglasses of the movie poster.) It sounds tame by the standards of modern action movies, but I remember it was pretty cool at the time.

People have been poking fun at Chuck Norris for almost as long as he’s been around. The latest fad has been to collect “facts” about Chuck Norris that show how tough he really is.

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

Looking back at Norris’s first few movies, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that he would be so famous that he’s a part of our common cultural landscape.

Superman owns a pair of Chuck Norris pajamas.

Chuck Norris can touch MC Hammer.

Naturally, someone has collected all these Chuck Facts into a website. This is my favorite:

Chuck Norris does not go hunting because the word “hunting” implies the possibility of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.

There are thousands more.

According to a ZDnet article, Justice Department prosecutors have asked Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL to turn over millions of records from their databases.

This is all part of the government’s attempt to defend the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). The ACLU is challenging COPA in part on the grounds that compliance is impossible. To support COPA, the federal prosecutors want information about the prevalence of pornography on the internet and its availability to children. So they’ve subpoenaed the four big search services for information that will help them prove their point.

This strikes me as an insane act of overreaching authority. None of the search engine companies are parties to the actual case being decided. Neither are they witnesses to any fact about the case. This is not like subpoenaing a bank to see if the defendent in a criminal case has any suspicious transactions. Rather, this is like trying to prove a transaction is suspicious by subpoenaing the records of millions of uninvolved people in order to establish what non-suspicious behavior looks like.

(The analogy isn’t perfect, but I think it gets the point across.)

The government is simply gathering statistical information about the internet by trying to abuse the subpoena power to steal the information from companies that have it, rather than gathering the information at its own expense.

Yahoo and AOL have both complied, but they claim to have cleansed the data of personally identifiable information to protect their customers privacy. The Justice department isn’t entirely happy with that.

Microsoft says “MSN works closely with law enforcement officials worldwide to assist them when requested….It is our policy to respond to legal requests in a very responsive and timely manner, in full compliance with applicable law.” They offer no further elaboration, but I’m pretty sure that means they squealed like pigs.

Google alone is fighting the subpoena:

In a letter dated Oct. 10, 2005, Google lawyer Ashok Ramani objected to the Justice Department’s request on the grounds that it could disclose trade secrets and was “overbroad, unduly burdensome, vague and intended to harass.”

I’d like to think that Google is fighting out of firm principle. Actually, I’m pretty sure they are. I suspect, however, that they are also a little naive. They’ve been working in a high-tech bubble for a long time and have never had the loving attention of the Justice Department before.

I wish them all the luck in the world. Fight the Power!

Philipp Lenssen has more details.

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the Nikon D200 camera I want, so I figure many of you are asking yourselves, “How’s Mark doing with that new Nikon D200 camera he ordered?”

I don’t have it yet. There were rumors about the new Nikon D200 well before the official announcement. So on November 1, when retailers announced they were taking pre-orders, a lot of Nikon fans place their orders immediately. I wasn’t so quick to make up my mind, but I finally decided to get in line for a D200 on November 16th.

Nikon released the first batch of D200 bodies to the world in mid-December, fulfilling the Christmas wishes of those who managed to order early on November 1. The rest of us have to wait a while. I had heard that Nikon would be shipping cameras in large batches every month, and a supervisor at Adorama told me that Nikon doesn’t commit to a particular delivery schedule, but that he expected my camera would ship in mid-January. So if all goes well, I should get it any day now.

All is not well. It’s not unexpected. Whenever a new high-tech product is released to the market, early users always uncover problems that squeaked past the quality testing. So far, people have reported four problems with the D200.

First, people reported that the battery pack ran down really fast. With a larger viewscreen, larger files, and the accompanying release of the battery-sucking 18-200 VR lens, nobody expected wonderful battery life, but some people were only getting a couple hundred pictures before running out of power.

That turned out to be no big deal. The D200 uses a the new EN-EL3e battery which seems to have a “learning curve.” After the first few charging cycles, it begins to last much longer.

Second, people were reporting “hot pixels.” That’s when one random pixel is much brighter than those around it. This is not unusual in a camera sensor. It’s a matter of yield: For every flawless sensor to roll out of the fab plant, there might be 5 sensors with one bad pixel, 15 sensors with two bad pixels, 10 with three, and so on. If you ever try to buy a high-quality CCD imaging sensor directly from the manufacturer, you’ll probably have to choose between several different levels of quality, with the flawless ones costing a lot more.

Computer hard disks are the same way: Most of them have a bunch of bad sectors. They’re tested at the factory and the list of bad sectors is written to a special place on the drive. The operating system on your computer knows how to find that list, so it simply doesn’t use the bad parts of the disk. I once worked on a project using an operating system that couldn’t do that. We had to buy a flawless disk drive for three times the price of a normal one. It’s far easier to just not use the bad sectors.

Nikon does the same thing with camera sensors: They program the camera to not use the bad pixels. The image processing software just fills in that pixel with a value that blends well with the surrounding pixels.

Sometimes Nikon doesn’t get all of them, and that’s what people are complaining about. They still have bad pixels in the image. When the image is viewed normally, filling a computer monitor or printed at 8×10, the hot pixels get combined with neighboring pixels and are pretty much invisible. You only really see them if you zoom in and look. And even then you can Photoshop them out. Or if that’s not good enough, you can send the Camera to a Nikon service center and they’ll map out the bad pixels so you don’t see them any more.

The third problem is more serious. People were reporting somewhat mysterious vertical “banding” in some of their images: Thin vertical lines of alternating light and dark tones. All hell broke lose in the on-line forums. People posted pictures of banding, other people didn’t see it and accused them of being Nikon haters, people who saw banding declared the D200 a dud, people accused them of not knowing how to take good pictures, other people accused them of being Canon partisans, people who didn’t even use Nikon equipment declared the D200 a failure because they hated Nikon users…

Amid all the noise and temper, I started to wonder if a D200 was worth waiting for. How bad was this banding? Was it a sample defect in some D200s, or was it just the way D200s took pictures? How often would it appear, and over how much of the image? Very frustrating.

Eventually, the answers started to come out. The problem was real, and tended to show up in certain extreme exposure conditions. If there was an overexposed bright patch in the picture, such as a light bulb or the open sky seen out the window of a darkened room, the nearby dark areas might show very fine banding.

Photographers being photographers, this was cause for a fight. People who had the banding problem posted 200% blow-ups showing the banding. Others who didn’t have the problem at all claimed the original banding photographs were faked. Others responded that because banding that was only visible at 200%, it wasn’t a big deal and wouldn’t show up on the web or in prints. Stock photographers pointed out that stock agencies have no idea what their customers are doing with the images, so they don’t buy images with defects that their customers might notice. This was met with the response that stock agencies also don’t buy poorly exposed images. Some photographers started posting pictures with banding all over without exposure problems. Artistic photographers pointed out that they use overexposure and other forms of technically bad photography to achieve artistic effects, but everybody ignored them. Sports photographers pointed out that they can’t always control exposure either (especially when shooting winter sports with all that bright snow) but that their photos are often used huge or tightly cropped.

While that argument was raging, Nikon engineers diagnosed the problem as something to do with the “compression module” and started repairing cameras people had sent in. The “banding” issue is apparently a quality control problem that Nikon will fix under the warranty in about a week.

For the type of photography I do, banding won’t be a problem unless it occurs on good exposures, and even then I might not care much because I don’t do big prints very often. So if my D200 has banding, I’ll just live with it (or fix it in Photoshop) until I feel like giving up the camera to Nikon for a week or so.

As I write this, a fourth D200 problem may be emerging. Because the lens on a digital SLR is removable, dust can get inside the camera. When the shutter opens to snap a picture, that dust can get on the imaging sensor where it will appear as a small spot in the image. To clean the dust off, you have to put the camera in a special cleaning mode in which it raises the internal mirror out of the way and holds the shutter open. Then you can use an air blower to remove the dust. If that doesn’t work, you have to use a cleaning pad or brush to wipe the sensor clean. (The Nikon manual says you’re never supposed to touch the sensor with anything but since the alternative is to send the camera to Nikon for cleaning, everybody does.)

I’ve read two reports of the shutter snapping shut unexpectedly while people were cleaning the sensor, in both cases causing damage to the shutter when it strikes the obstruction. Replacing the shutter is a $250 repair job. If this ever causes a scratch on the image sensor, it’s going to be a lot more. At this time, even the people who had it happen to them admit it might just be user error—accidentally hitting something that closes the shutter.

In any case, I still don’t have a D200, so it’s not a problem for me.

Note: Comments closed because this entry was turning into a spam magnet.

In the half-decade or so that blogging has been taking off on the World Wide Web, bloggers have envied the mainstream media for its power and influence while at the same time excoriating the mainstream media for its arrogance.

The bloggers have been making continuous progress catching up on power and influence over the last few years. Now they take a big step toward catching up on the arrogance. On Friday, several major bloggers issued a joint statement:

We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.

As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.


N.Z. Bear, The Truth Laid Bear
Hugh Hewitt, HughHewitt.com
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit.com
Kevin Aylward, Wizbang!
La Shawn Barber, La Shawn Barber’s Corner
Lorie Byrd / DJ Drummond , Polipundit
Beth Cleaver, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Jeff Goldstein, Protein Wisdom
Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
John Hawkins, Right Wing News
John Hinderaker, Power Line
Jon Henke / McQ / Dale Franks, QandO
James Joyner, Outside The Beltway
Mike Krempasky, Redstate.org
Michelle Malkin, MichelleMalkin.com
Ed Morrissey, Captain’s Quarters
Scott Ott, Scrappleface
The Anchoress, The Anchoress
John Donovan / Bill Tuttle, Castle Argghhh!!!

You know, blogging is an ego trip. Every one of us has to feel self-important enough to believe other people will care what we think. It’s just part of blogging.

But getting together and crafting a joint statement of advice to Congressional leadership claiming to be “certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege” shows a level of pomposity that these same bloggers would ruthlessly ridicule if the mainstream media did it.

(plus they left me out)

I just spotted the headline in Yahoo news:

Reputed Mob Boss Captured in Chicago

A mobster, in Chicago? Say it ain’t so! Why would a mobster in Chicago be big news? Unless… They did write “Mob Boss”… Could it be…?

Holy Crap! They caught Joey “The Clown” Lombardo!

Lombardo has had kind of a strange reputation for years. Apparently, he was not a very flashy guy by mob standards and had an off-beat sense of humor. After Tony Accardo died, the rumor in the newspapers was that Lombardo, who was just being let out of prison, was going to be the new boss of the Chicago mob.

Joey "The Clown" Lombardo

If he was, he kept a pretty low profile. Which made sense. You know, the whole “code of silence” thing. Also, associating with criminals would be a parole violation, so he couldn’t be seen talking to an awful lot of people. Many people figured that someone else like John “No Nose” Difronzo was really in charge.

Not much was heard from or about Lombardo until April of last year. That’s when a federal investigation wound up with the indictment and arrest of 14 mobsters in connection with 18 murders.

Well…the feds indicted 14 mobsters, but only arrested 13. Amazingly, the 77-year old Lombardo escaped capture and has been a fugitive ever since.

He wrote letters to his lawyer, including one where he offers to surrender to the FBI if they’ll meet his terms. Of course, he claims he’s innocent:

I am no part of a enterprise or racketering. About the 18 murders in the indictment, I want you to know that I was not privy before the murders, during the murders, and after the murders.

They caught him just a few hours ago in Elmwood Park. On Friday the 13th, no less. Clown to the end.

Earlier this week I blogged about the retesting of DNA evidence in the murder of Wanda McCoy. Roger Keith Coleman was executed for the crime 13 years ago, but various people have been insisting he was innocent and asking for the evidence to be re-tested.

Now it has, and the results were about what I predicted: The DNA matched with 19-million-to-one odds against an accidental match. Fresh DNA matches are routinely in the billions-to-one range, but for a degraded sample, that’s pretty definitive.

Some have objected to these tests because they weren’t about finding the truth but were all about politics and abolishing the death penalty. For those most closely involved, I imagine that’s true. Nevertheless, a lot of truth was found.

Supporters of Coleman’s innocence are devestated. Long-time supporter James McCloskey described it as “a kick in the stomach” and feels betrayed. At least now he knows better than to spend more time on Coleman’s behalf.

Prosecutor Tom Scott, on the other hand, feels “like the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders.” That’s got to feel good. If the tests had gone the other way, he would have been blamed for the death of an innocent man.

I believe the search for the truth is generally a good thing, even if those doing the searching (or those trying to stop them) have less-than-perfect motives.

This is how scientific thinking works. We have this theory—that special relativity is true, that other stars have planets, that Coleman is guilty. Then we test this theory—with particle accelerators, or telescopes, or DNA tests.

If we find what the theory predicts—extended particle life, Doppler shifts, a DNA match—then we can all be a little more confident that the theory is correct.

The DNA tests also tested the more general theory that the process of capital punishment is accurate. That theory also passed its test so we can be a little more confident there as well.

Thus we gain knowledge.