Accident forensicsGuest blogger Denise Hewitt wants to claim “forensics” all for psychology (we know its all applied anthropology) in the following post:

Face to face with our nation’s most reviled citizens, it’s not government officials or law enforcement diving into deep, murky, psychological waters of alleged criminals — it’s a relatively new breed of cognitive analysts. A recent slew of high-profile crimes has brought mental health to the forefront of our national conversation, and a growing number of specialized psychologists are leading the way. Dubbed “forensic psychology,” it’s likely to become a rapidly growing field. Criminal justice and psychology students alike may find themselves filling out a job application form to work in this new arena. The mental health experts in this field play key roles in the outcome of heart-wrenching trials, much to the chagrin of a vocal opposition.

What is It?

Dr. Christina Pietz, a forensic psychologist tasked with analyzing the gunman charged in killing six people and injuring U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, during a 2011 shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., testified that the then-23-year-old was competent to stand trial, according to Azcentral.com. Her testimony followed six months of evaluation that weaved together psychological assessment with the legal process.

According to the American Board of Forensic Psychology, these professionals apply science and psychology to issues relating to law and the legal system. This broad description leaves room for many roles, including competency evaluator, personality assessor and criminal therapist, among many others.

As evidenced by the Tucson shooter’s trial, forensic psychology plays a significant role in the legal process without a precisely defined role. That doesn’t mean the field is immature, however. The American Board of Forensic Psychology released its fifth draft of specialty guidelines in 2010, which outlines methods and procedures, conflicts in practice, privacy mandates and commenting best practices, among other things.

How Does It Work?

Unlike more conventional psychological assessment in which a professional explores the psychology of a willing subject, forensic psychologists often assess subjects that have no intention to assist the process in any way. Criminal profiler and serial crime expert Deborah Schurman-Kauflin described her basic approach to profiling violent criminals on Psychologytoday.com. Schurman-Kauflin has three questions in mind as she evaluates a suspect: What evidence is present at the scene? What is the motive? Who is the suspect?

In high-profile cases, the media relentlessly report evidence and potential motives, but forensic psychologists have intimate, exclusive access to the accused, making their testimonies all the more intriguing.

After the shooting in 2011, Dr. Pietz diagnosed Jared Loughner with schizophrenia. She stood by her diagnosis during her August 2012 testimony, revealing that medication led him to feel remorse for what he had done, according to Azcentral.com. Pietz’s conclusion that Loughner was competent to stand trial was a significant step in advancing the case.

Significant Opposition

Predictably, this new justice system resource has considerable opposition. Psychologytoday.com explored a particularly strong opinion posted on its website, which described forensic psychology as “a whore subspecialty until otherwise proven, as it is doing what is financially convenient for the M.D…”. The comment implies that forensic psychology is susceptible to corruption and experts will say what they are paid to say. With the amount of influence these professionals have in the justice system, it’s certainly a fair concern.

Most forensic psychologists are American Board of Forensic Psychology certified, and board guidelines define clear processes to promote transparency. For example, the guidelines indicate the forensic psychologists should strive to have all data they considered when forming an opinion readily available for inspection. While the potential for corruption may always loom, forensic psychologists have the ability to offer undeniable astute opinions when assessing violent criminals.

The following story is good to read in that it illustrates our value outside of our field.

Ethnographic stories can help brands connect better with consumers By MG Parameswaran

Does a bank really know how the consumer will use its mobile banking solution? Can traditional research tell us the truth or will it just evoke ‘intended’ behavior? Or does a soap brand know which other products really co-habit in the consumer’s bathroom shelves? Will traditional research tell us the truth or will it just produce what the consumer wants us to believe to be the truth? Read on


The new wave of technological innovation is coming to your home by way of automation. You will soon be able to control most aspects of your home, from locking doors to turning on lights to opening and closing the garage, with your smartphone.

Start With Lockitron

One of the newest and most fascinating technologies in the automation market is Lockitron, which allows people to control the locks on their doors through a device that’s installed over the interior deadbolt. Homeowners will be able to lock and unlock doors — and keep track of whether the door is locked or not from anywhere in the world, as long as you can access an Internet connection.

After being turned down by Kickstarter, Lockitron raised all of it’s seed money on its own and is now one of the hottest inventions out there, through home automation or otherwise.

Meanwhile, there are already features on many of the appliances and electronics with automation technology. Garage doors have been automated for years but now can be opened and closed from just about anywhere, working in a similar way as Lockitron. This is all especially helpful when you’re on vacation or away on a business trip as your smartphone becomes the control center for your home, and its security, showing you what you may have forgotten about or, soon, when someone is knocking on the door to your house. There are even pet-feeding systems that allow you to feed your pets through a device that connects via Wi-Fi through your smartphone so that you won’t even have to come home to feed your pet, which might make them a little lonely.

The Controversy

Of course, there are concerns about how secure this may be. All digital inventions can be hacked in some way, and when it comes to locking and unlocking doors in a home that’s supposed to protect people and valuables, you have to figure thieves will figure out how to override the system in some way. According to www.securitycompanies.com, homeowners should consider these risks when deciding between a DIY system and an established provider. While DIY systems save money over time and are easy to install, some residents may prefer the peace of mind that security professionals deliver. Remember, the security companies you hire to watch your house has people on standby 24/7 to respond if anything happens and will contact the authorities.

However, you have to figure these automated systems will have that option soon. As technology becomes more active in all of our lives, you have to figure it will only serve to bring places like our homes to life in our best interests.

Image by 黛 欧 pursuant to the terms of Creative Commons license.

Earth Globe with mobile phoneIt’s a good time to be a gadget geek. Smartphones have come along way since the original iPhone and Blackberry struggled for dominance. Apple’s touch-screen innovation has largely eliminated the old Qwerty keyboard, and smartphones are packed with processors that could run computers.

The smartphone boon has opened the doors for competition. Apple remains a top player in the market, but in 2012, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 outsold Apple’s iPhone 4s, according to cbsnews.com. Familiar tech companies are making a mobile splash, as well. Search-giant Google purchased Motorola Mobility in 2012, adding a hardware wing to their well-documented software mobile division. Facebook recently released its latest mobile innovation, an integrated app collaboration dubbed Facebook Home.

Smartphone innovation is in full swing. Which device will you choose as your digital companion?


Less than a year ago, Samsung introduced iPhone’s biggest competitor yet, the Galaxy S3. It was big, fast and sleek, and consumers noticed. Samsung isn’t resting on the S3’s success, though. In March, the Korean manufacturer introduced the Galaxy S4. Predictably, it’s even bigger, even faster and even more impressive. A mammoth 5-inch 1080p screen connects users with the device, and new eye-tracking technology delivers a “wow” factor. Samsung is riding a wave of momentum, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.


Cupertino-based Apple found a release cycle that launched them to the top of the smartphone market. Introduce a redesigned phone every two years, and upgrade under-the-hood hardware and software on off years. Apple’s grip on the mobile crown might be slipping, but the “Think Different” brand isn’t afraid to innovate. According to Ibtimes.com, Apple could release a less expensive iPhone this fall. If critics had to criticize Apple’s current mobile products, most would point their high price tags. A less expensive iPhone could reestablish Apple as the clear leader in the smartphone industry.


If we’ve learned anything about Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, it’s that they think big. It’s no surprise, then, that when Google officially purchased Motorola Mobility last year, it sent shock waves through the mobile industry. Google could make its next big mobile announcement as early as next month, when it hosts the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. Rumors indicate the coming of an “X Phone,” Google’s first release since acquiring Motorola. Based on Google’s apparent commitment to mobile development, an X-Phone and subsequent smartphones from Google could take the mobile market by storm.


Mark Zuckerberg and company stirred speculation of a Facebook Phone when they announced a mobile event in April. Rumors proved partially accurate. Facebook didn’t release its own hardware, but it did announce a collaboration with Taiwanese manufacturer HTC. The HTC First features Facebook Home, the social network’s expanded mobile application. Facebook Home delivers a comprehensive Facebook experience in any application. Facebook messages pop up like text messages, and the user’s newsfeed updates on the home screen. Social media enthusiasts will appreciate this collaboration.


Blackberry may not be the mobile superstar it once was, but it’s not going away without a fight. Formerly known as RIM (Research in Motion), Blackberry ditched its signature Qwerty keyboard and joined the touch-screen market with the Z10. Computerworld.com noted that Blackberry fans should appreciate the new Blackberry 10 phones, but tech-obsessed consumers may still look elsewhere. Still, the release indicates that Blackberry isn’t afraid to adapt to the times.

You watch as the butterfly lights upon a flower, its wings vivid in the fading sunlight. You can see as its proboscis extends down to drink, and watch as it then flutters to another flower. The warmth in the air is obvious from the haze and the shimmers in the distance, and you can almost feel what it’s like to be there. Of course, your air conditioning ruins some of the effect, but your new 4K TV is proving to be quite immersive.

image by Digitas Photo

4K television, or Ultra HD, is set to be the new standard of high quality viewing in the home. Manufacturers are hoping that the increased resolution and incredible detail provided by the sets will be enough to motivate buyers, even as many have only just made the transition to standard HD.

The Technology

Television manufacturers will essentially double your resolution with 4K models. 4K refers to around 4,000 pixels wide with a height of around 2,000 pixels, according to CNET, but there are several different standards that are grouped under the Ultra HD title. In comparison, the high definition standard for HD is 1,920 pixels wide by 1,080 pixels high.

The resolution of 4K is worthy of movie theaters. The technology makes sense, as most shows are now shot on 4K- capable cameras. What you view in the near future at home may be exactly as the creators of the show intended, in all the glorious detail.

The Cost

There have been some doubts as to whether consumers would be willing to shell out large amounts of money for yet another new technology. TV manufacturers have been doing what they can to answer such questions by producing 4K TVs at multiple price points.

For those who want the best, there is the 84-inch model offered by Sony for $25,000, says CNN.com. For those on more of a budget, Sony is also releasing a 55-inch and a 65-inch, at $4,999 and $6,999 respectively. Another company, Seiki, is offering a 50-inch 4K TV for $1,500.

Prices like these indicate companies are getting serious about putting 4K into as many homes as possible. It should also be noted that this is just the beginning — technology always drops in price after a few years on the market. Ultra HD should become affordable for the majority of buyers in the future.

At Wimbledon

Sony is teaming up with the BBC to film this year’s Wimbledon Championships in 4K, according to TechRadar. Sony appears to be all in for the future of the technology, and apparently wants to get it out there to as many as possible. The extreme detail offered by 4K seems to be a perfect match for sports enthusiasts, where every detail is noted and measured.

4K and 3D

3D television failed to take off like manufacturers hoped it would, but 4K may make the technology more appealing. Because of the increased resolution of 4K, 3D movies are said to look much better on the new televisions, especially those using passive 3D. This is good for viewers who prefer the lighter, more comfortable passive 3D glasses.

According to www.GetDirectTV.org, DirecTV already offers 3D sports and movie packages. Sony is also attempting to get DirecTV and DISH to offer 4K broadcasts in regular programming, which will give Ultra HD TV owners plenty to view on their new sets.

Here a open source means to home automate:


A video from AP Mobile:

With Flick of Finger, a Dumb House Gets Smart

thumbnailIn this interconnected world, the next big thing may be a fully-wired house. With everything from door locks to coffee makers to pet feeders controllable from an app on your smart phone. The AP’s Lee Powell enters the smart house. (May 16)

See Video Details

The following story on Newsy was interesting:

AT&T Allows Home Security Control via Smartphones


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