How Many People Have Ever Lived?

Back in the 1970s, an unknown writer said that most of the people who had ever lived were alive then [1]. The idea persists, even though it’s not true. From what I can find, estimates of the number of people ever born range from 50 to 120 billion, with 6 billion now living. The number … Read more

Genome Quilts

Turn your DNA sequence into a quilt pattern? I was skeptical, but now I get it. Beverly St. Clair at Genome Quilts had the idea of turning the repeating bases in a DNA molecule into a quilt pattern. She created four different quilt blocks, representing adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). By … Read more

Personal Genetics

The big news in the genetic world this month is personal genomic testing. With an infusion of cash from Google, a Silicon Valley company, 23andMe, has launched a genetic testing service. Customers pay $999 and give a DNA sample in the form of saliva. The company genotypes 580,000 SNPs across the 46 human chromosomes. After … Read more

County Seals

Denver County Seal

Do a Google image search on “county seals” and you’ll see that they (and state seals) are usually poorly designed. I would venture to guess that most were thrown together over lunch by some of the folks in the back office. Every now and then one stands out, either because it uses legitimate heraldry or … Read more

Historical Appellate Review

Craig Manson at GeneaBlogie has a new and interesting project, the Historical Appellate Review Project: You’ve heard the story that Great-Uncle Festus was a no-good horse thief. But was he really? Did he get a fair trial? Did he have a good lawyer or even a lawyer at all? Can his name be cleared all … Read more

Scientific Illiteracy—Sad

Idiot America

Only about a third of Americans believe that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is a scientific theory that has been well supported by the evidence, while just as many say that it is just one of many theories and has not been supported by the evidence. The rest say they don’t know enough to say. … Read more

The Good Life

From the website of the Positive Psychology Center comes some interesting insights on the Good Life: Some of the findings of positive psychology seem like common sense. Does this add anything to what we already know about the good life? It is easy to claim something is obvious after the evidence is in. It is … Read more


My grandmother Vivian Luce Swanstrom would have been 106 today. I remember her fondly every year on her birthday.