Friday, April 8, 2011

Beware of The Geek Factor! - "G"

I've spent the past few days writing about different genres where magic/supernatural occurrences are a required part of the story.  But its not all fairies and vampires out there. There are some genres that have a different type of 'magic' its called forensics or...the Geek Factor.

Ever since I've learned about these wily, white-coated, superheroes, I've been too paranoid to commit any sort of crime because I might shed a single hair that has a skin tag. Apparently, the crime scene guys from the FBI or the CIA or just a really wealthy city can take that hair and scan it with flashy blue lights to get instant DNA.  

Never mind that it takes weeks - yes weeks - for real DNA typing or that you need a sample to compare it to.  That's all boring.

In this universe, they'll analyze that DNA and give the genetic marker information to a really sexy-looking artist/computer program writer and she'll use weird hologram smoke to reconstruct my face out of guesses and suppositions.

That picture will go to a super-secret, underground, classified, black-ops, think-tank where more be-speckled/pasty guys will use facial recognition software to infiltrate traffic cams, bank machines, and my very own laptop camera to track my every move. But they're just getting started...

My information will then go onto another department belonging to a guy with a weird sunglass fetish. This lab is where someone will put a section of said hair in a tiny bottle spinner-thingy and figure out my favorite color and whether or not I cheat on my taxes.

But that's not all! Oh, no!  There's apparently a really smart/insane guy they keep in the bowels of Harvard. He and his truly magnificent son ----->
will concoct some elaborate quasi-steam punk-ish contraption that will bend time so that they can actually 'see' my crime.

Then, they'd track my movements via aerial robotic camera drones...controlled by more said 'lab geek factor' technicians while their SUV-driving goons pull some sort of vehicular insanity to run me off the road and take me into custody.

Finally I'll be made to sit in a glassed-in room with a very angry Irish guy who can tell if I'm lying just by the way my nostrils flare.  I'd be convicted in an instant.

The Lab Geek Factor...don't mess with it, people.

All kidding aside, there are some really great sites out there to help you incorporate reality-based forensics in your crime or suspense novel. 

Fellow Blogger, Clarissa Draper has the most awesome series on evidence gathering and the like. Check her out, she's amazing.

A couple of other sites for learning about forensics and crime procedures are: Forensics blogs and  Top 50 Criminal Justice Blogs.

Until next time...Go Write!

This post brought to you by A-Z April Blogging Challenge.
Photograph by Vince Alongi.


Trisha said...

I love these types of geeks (esp. the Squints in Bones :D) but they also make me jealous of their huge brains. :P

Anonymous said...

Research is so much easier for a writer today than it was before...:). I'm an ardent audience of all shows geeky, and loved your post!

kar_took said...

I really love your post. I was just reading Kelley Armstrong's 'Industrial Magic' where the supernatural characters discuss the whole 'DNA analysis in 5 minutes' thing from CSI.

Please tell me that you were kidding, and you know that Tim Roth is English? (Us Brit's and our hang up about accents. Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. I just about managed to not point out that he wears West Ham scarf most of the time...oops ;) )

Charity Bradford said...

Raquel, great post and these are all my favorite shows! I love how you wove them together into one awesome community of geeks. I've always had a soft spot for geeks. :)

Elena Solodow said...

Are you telling me the world of forensics isn't glamorous? That's crazy!

Laura Marcella said...

Yikes! Thanks for the heads up, hahaha.

Myne Whitman said...

I love geek shows and CSI is the best of them. Fringe and Chuck are good too, lol.

Raquel Byrnes said...

LOL! I wish all the geeks I knew in college looked like Joshua Jackson. Totally would have stayed in Chemistry!

Eric W. Trant said...

I took a graduate-level forensics course for FUN back in the 90s. It truly was incredible how they discover things.

They identified the bodies of a little girl and her mother, skeletized, by placing the little girl's skull in a bucket of sand and angling it exactly the way she was posed in a Sears family photo. They then overlaid the two images and super-imposing between the two showed an exact match.

I remember some of the kids laughing because the little girl's face faded from blonde ponytail to skull in the sand.

Some guy raped and killed them both years back. They caught the guy, but without the bodies he got off light, and he couldn't be re-tried. He'll get out one day, the forensic teacher said.

He had a cop with him, one of those Texas guys in boots and a cowboy hat and button-down shirt and jeans, and the cop said, Yeah, he'll do it again.

That's a tough job. They belittle it in the movies, but those guys see some disturbing and mortifying things.

- Eric

Raquel Byrnes said...

Yeah, I don't know how they do it. Research into the real deal shows its a tough gig with lots of hard science behind it.

Those guys and gals are amazing. I couldn't have that job. I'd never sleep.

Thanks for sharing your experience. That must have been a hard class to take.

Hannah Kincade said...

I don't know where you got that picture of JJ but I loves it! Now I'm going to go home and watch Fringe. ;)

Tamara McRill said...

All the best shows have at least a little geek factor!