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Archive for February, 2009


Yesterday’s winner was Lynne at Hasty Brook.  Michael Jenkins lied about discovering the body in the office with the light on because the detective had to turn the light on when he entered the office.  He is the killer.

Simon, a father of three, was struck on the head and killed. The murder weapon, a gun, is placed on a table as you interview the victim’s sons and daughter.

You tell them their father was murdered half an hour ago. They give no other details.

Son 1: ‘I was upstairs sound asleep in my bedroom. I didn’t hear a thing.’

Daughter: ‘I couldn’t have hit him. I was stuck in freeway traffic for the past hour.’

Son 2: ‘I was out jogging in the rain. You can see how soaked I am.’

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https://scienceguy288.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/diy-mystery-series-episode-1/

So the answer to the first one of these was staring you right in the face the whole time.   First thing first.  Who took the horse?  The horse thief was Cubson.  Cubson and Kilmer are actually one and the same.  Cubson, or Kilmer, had rather expensive tastes as seen from the Armani suit receipt.  To pay for his closet, Cubson planned to use the candle and surgical knife to cut Big Brown’s leg tendon, and then win big bucks wagering against Big Brown.  He was practicing for this operation on the sheep, causing their infections.  Cubson led the horse into the fields.  You knew that it had do be somebody regularly on the farm; not Hughes, as the dog would have barked, awakening everyone.  Somebody the dog knew took the horse.  Also, Cubson had some influence over the dinner selection, allowing him to drug the stable boy.  His death, however was no murder.  Big Brown, when led out into the fields felt the initial pinch of the blade and kicked Cubson in the head, killing him.  So where is the horse?  Well, you take your friend over the the stable of Samsanov.  There a horse stands.  It is not brown, nor does he have Big Brown’s trademark white leggings. However, after a quick bath, the horse is turned into a brown stallion.  Samsanov, seeing Brown wandering the fields decided to take him for his own, a guaranteed win.

So hopefully this one is simpler.

http://www.mysterynet.com/solveit/

The members of Scotland Yard were still busy in the office of David Serdanis when Sergeant Dan Matthews came up to you to report.

“We haven’t found the gun,” he said. “Serdanis was shot at his desk from close range. He was a tax attorney, age 51. Michael Jenkins, age 53, who discovered the body, says he was a client of Serdanis’s. He stopped by about quarter to eight this evening to ask Serdanis about a real estate matter. Serdanis’s outer office was dark, but the door was ajar and he saw a light under the inner door office. He says he knocked, pushed open the door, saw Serdanis slumped over his desk in a puddle of blood, and turned right around and ran to the lobby to call us from a pay phone.”

“He expected to find Serdanis in his office at quarter to eight?” you ask.

“He says he knew Serdanis worked late hours.  His call came in at seven forty-eight. I was on patrol at the time and responded, arriving about eight. I accompanied Jenkins back to the inner office, flipped on the light, and found the body as he described.”

Matthews and you step aside as the body of Serdanis was removed.

“Who else in the building has been interviewed?” you ask.

“There were only two others around. Kate Hodgin, 47, is an accountant who works down the hall. Apparently they had an affair several months ago, but he abruptly ended it. She says she saw Serdanis in the hallway about quarter to seven, and they said hello. About seven-twenty and again about seven-forty, she heard a muffled bang, but assumed each time it was a truck backfiring.

“Uh-huh…”  you wonder aloud

“The other person in the building,” Matthews continued, “was James Stover, 32, the janitor. We discovered a record of petty theft but he says that was years ago and he’s cleaned up his act.  Not quite sure that is true because he had a nice new gold watch which looked a bit expensive for his pay.  He says he emptied Hodgin’s trash about ten past seven. He didn’t see her in her office at the time, but it looked like she had just stepped out. She says she was in the bathroom about that time. He emptied Serdanis’ trash about seven-thirty, he reckons, and Serdanis was there alive and alone. He says he didn’t hear the bangs Hodgin referred to, but says he is partly deaf and was doing some vacuuming as well as collecting trash. About a quarter to eight, he went down to the lobby and saw Jenkins at the pay phone, though Jenkins did not notice him. Stover proceeded to the basement to bag the trash. That’s where we found him.”

“There is no security guard, correct?”  You ask.

No security guard.”

“Thank you, sergeant. The fingerprint report should be helpful, and I think I know whom it will implicate,” you retort.

So whodunnit?

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Back from the Grave


Well, the hectic week is over.  Tomorrow I will be getting back into things.  Just letting everyone know.

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Busy, Busy


I will be extremely busy during these next two weeks. As a result. I have decided not to post until things start clearing up again. Sorry about the inconvenience (?).

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Just to give us a bit of perspective, I have decided to take some info from this website: http://www.wisebread.com/the-greatest-story-ever-sold-is-a-fantasy-covered-in-blood .   I also just wanted to post this quote from a De Beer’s spokesperson,

Diamonds are intrinsically worthless.”

More about diamonds:

Want an easy way to save 3+ months’ salary? Don’t buy a diamond engagement ring. If your fiancée, friends and family scream hellfire, calmly explain:

It’s just marketing. The whole “A Diamond is Forever” and the idea of a diamond engagement ring is not an ancient tradition to be revered and followed. It is Sprite’s “Obey Your Thirst.” It is Nike’s “Just Do It.” It is Gary Dahl’s “Pet Rock.” Not only did De Beers understand it had to control supply (buying up and closing down any diamond mine discovered), they had to control demand. They had to make it sentimental. And Americans were the perfect suckers. They targeted the US specifically for our marketability. This campaign is less than 70 years old yet has become so ingrained in our culture that the diamond engagement ring has become the ultimate symbol of how much the relationship, the girl, and love itself is worth.

Diamonds aren’t rare. Fine, using marketing tactics can’t be blamed since that’s part of the game of capitalism. But another part of the game is competition. It’s all well and good if marketers can convince consumers to buy them instead of the competition based on a nice slogan, but the competition should be there to protect the consumer. All gems are valued based on their rarity (as are most things in life). But diamonds are abundant. De Beers has a huge vault where they keep most of the world’s supply of diamonds. If it ever got released into the market, the way it would be if they weren’t a monopoly, diamonds would be worth nothing. It’s literally a pretty rock.

Diamonds have no resale value. The reason a “diamond is forever” is because you’re basically stuck with it. You’ll never be able to resell it except to a pawn shop. Even a jeweler (the few who would be willing to buy it) would offer a fraction of what you paid.

Synthetic diamonds will flood the market. Synthetic or “cultured” diamonds are already being made and within the next few years, will be efficiently made for the mass market. These are real diamonds. They are made in a machine that replicates the environmental forces that make diamonds. The only difference is that they’re better. They have less flaws. And they cost a fraction of the going rate. Want a 2-carat pink diamond? That’ll be a few thousand dollars.

Moissanite looks just like a diamond. Jewelers had to upgrade their equipment to detect Moissanite from diamonds when it came into the market. It’s undetectable with the naked eye. And it’s actually more brilliant. A 1-carat ring is under $1000.

Who is the ring for, anyway? Seriously. As The Dilettante so poignantly put it, “For women, comparing jewelry is our phallic posturing contest: look at how big MY dic….er, I mean, diamond is.” It’s fun to show off for about 30 seconds. After that there is little to show for the debt incurred for the shiny piece of rock. That money could have gone into furniture, an amazing trip (or many nice ones), your future kids’ college funds!!

Are these reasons still not enough? Watch Blood Diamond. It is high time Hollywood dared to broach the subject of diamonds, especially when they had a hand in marketing it to the public in the first place. Blood Diamond, is an explicit example of the blood and war that has spanned the entire history of the De Beers’ diamond cartel. The story of Sierra Leone isn’t an isolated event, nor is the conflict over just because the movie says there’s peace in Sierra Leone now.

What are conflict/blood diamonds? Conflict/blood diamonds are used by rebel groups to fuel conflict and civil wars, and by terrorist groups to finance their activities.

The Kimberley Process is just PR. It’s an agreement that is supposed to prevent conflict diamonds from getting into the market but ended up being more of a PR stunt since it’s based on a system of self-policing. The UN reported in October 2006 that due to poor enforcement of the Kimberley Process, $23 million of conflict diamonds from Cote d’lvoire alone entered the legitimate market. Sure De Beers won’t buy diamonds coming out of Cote d’lvoire, but they’ll turn a blind eye to the smuggling of diamonds from there through Ghana and Mali where they are certified as being conflict-free.

Percentage in the market. During the height of the diamond conflict in the 1990s, the diamond industry reported that no more than 4% of the diamonds in the market were conflict diamonds, when in reality it has been shown to be closer to 15% .

Asking for conflict-free certificates is not enough. In April 2006 after a scathing report by Partnership Africa Canada about activities in Brazil, an internal review showed that 49 of 147 Kimberley Process certificates were fraudulent. Besides these fraudulent certificates, real certificates could still be issued if conflict diamonds were smuggled and mixed with legally traded ones before being certified.

Children in India are cutting and polishing the diamonds. Children in India can become “bonded” – forced to work to pay off the debts of their family. These children end up working in the diamond factories.

Children in conflict zones are being used as soldiers. The images in Blood Diamond with child soldiers are very real. They are drugged and brainwashed to handle the manslaughter they are forced to do.

Jennifer Connelly says in the movie Blood Diamond, “People back home would not buy a diamond if they knew it cost someone their hand.” Now you know.

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It seems that the turnout to my mystery post wasn’t great.  So, I will once again, put this to the vote, except this time, just comment.  The series would be a bit of work, so if nobody is that into it, I will decide to cut programming and move on to our next series.

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The amazing scientist’s 200th birthday is today!   Happy bicentenial!

A great scientist

Darwin: Young and Old: A great scientist

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