Month: May 2012

Eurovision Song Contest and DK Intelligentsia tweets #ESCdk

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Eurovision Song Contest 2012 is live from Baku in the country east of Armenia that is difficult to spell, and the development is followed closely by the Danish Intelligentsia. Here – besides me – Socialdemocrat IT spokesperson former member of parliament Yildiz and leading Twitter journalist Kaare all commenting on the Udmurt grannies.

BTW what happened to the Swiss?

My elevator talk video

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I was surprised to find that not all know my 225-view famous perhaps semi-humorous elevator talk video. So here it is.

Please note the matched timing of the speech and the elevator. It took me some time to get the match right: Several times up and down the elevator. :-)

Probability, DNA and court

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I recently initiated the Wikipedia article about the Court here in Lyngby and surfed a bit round on the homepage of the court. I stumbled upon an interesting case from 2011 about acquittal with a DNA match.

Here the case is with my translation and editing:

A 31 year old man from the western suburbs of Copenhagen was acquitted from accusations of theft totalling 200,000 Danish kroner from a villa in Gentofte. The evidence against the accused was alone a DNA match which meant that there were more than 1,000,000 times larger
probability for, that blood found on the site came from the accused than from another random person in the Danish population.

The accused which was first interrogated ca. 4 months after the crime, was not previously convicted for theft, had a well-paid job, own house, girlfriend and 2 kids and refused any knowledge of the theft.

The police did not perform any other investigations and the court found that the accused lived approximately 11.7 kilometers from the site of theft – like approximately 1,000,000 other person.

The court noted that the police could have performed a search at the house of the accused, could have obtained mobil phone records and looked for scars on the accused.

This is indeed a very interesting case of probabilities. A probability of 1 against 1,000,000 is probably not right. Unfortunate errors such as contaminations or paper work errors change the probability perhaps to as low a 1 against 1,000. When such errors are taken into account
they work in favor of the accused.

One may ask how they obtained the accused and his DNA in the first place. Was he suspected? Prior non-theft convictions? If he was suspected prior to the DNA test then even 1 against 1,000 is serious odds. It is much less serious if the man was routinely entered into a DNA register and the match appeared after a search in the database containing perhaps several 100,000 people.

It would be really interesting if the police appealed the decision and made more through investigations, e.g., are they able to track the mobil phone of the accused. It is important to know how such big odds should be interpreted and trusted.

Error in the erratum

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One usually needs to take care when writing corrections: An error in an erratum looks silly. For those with knowledge of Danish would note that a word in the title has a typo: “Radioavsien” should have been “Radioavisen”. Somehow the picture of the pig adds some humor to the typo.

Did Neil Kinnock give correct answer about Stasi spy?

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In 2003 German European Parliament member Markus Ferber asked the EU Commission: “Is there any truth in the allegations that Mr Olsen was held in custody in Denmark over alleged activities for the State Security Service of the former GDR?” with Mr. Olsen being Morten Jung-Olsen, Head of Unit and Chief Negotiator for Bulgaria.

Mr Kinnock (Neil Kinnock I suppose) replied: “Mr Jung-Olsen has been acquitted of any allegations against him. As the Honourable Member will know, it is a basic rule in democracies that detention does not carry a presumption of guilt and that legal acquittal gives valid proof of the standing of an individual.”

Something is rotten in the answer of Kinnock. First of all he doesn’t really answer the question, because yes Mr Olsen was held in custody in Denmark over alleged activities for the State Security Service of the former GDR. He sat in prison for 111 days. There is truth in the allegation that he was held in custody.

Second, Jung-Olsen was really not acquitted. He was simply released as the case was deemed to old to go to court. The prosecutor even said that they had the right man.

One year later after the discussion in EU, forth came Stasi spy boss Werner Grossmann further supporting the prosecutor’s statement.

So EU apparently employs a former Stasi spy.

Recently extending the Wikipedia article on the Danish security service I noticed that not many spys working in Denmark have been put to jail. Another notable case with a sort-of “guilty but not convicted” verdict was for the writer Arne Herløv Petersen.