Saturday, October 20, 2018

Finding a pensive genealogist in "The Witch Elm"

It had to happen. My all-time favorite (living) fiction writer, Tana French, has a genealogist in the cast of characters in her new title, The Witch Elm. His findings are not as friendly as they used to be:

"People are coming to me because their analysis didn't turn out the way they expected . . . . They're unsettled and they're frightened, and what they want from me isn't the lovely presents, any more; it goes much deeper. They're afraid that they're not who they always thought they were, and they want me to find them reassurance. And we both know it might not turn out that way. I'm not the fairy godfather any more; now I'm some dark arbiter, probing through their hidden places to decide their fate. And I'm not nearly as comfortable in that role."

(FYI: The genealogy is Irish, not my forte; but it appears that the author did her homework. Don't pick it up for the genealogy -- it's scattered lightly through the 509 pages -- pick it up for what Stephen King calls its "incandescent" prose. )

Tana French, The Witch Elm (New York: Viking, 2018), 132

Monday, October 15, 2018

"Everybody is about to be under genetic surveillance one way or another"

That's the gist from computational biologists quoted in yesterday's Wired article by Megan Molteni: "GENOME HACKERS SHOW NO ONE'S DNA IS ANONYMOUS ANYMORE." Well, almost no one. And depending on what role state or national governments may take.

Read the whole thing, it's not long. If you have reason to think it's bogus or overstated, reply in the comments (or take it up in a DNA forum).

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

What Aaron Goodwin Just Said

The brand-new NGS Monthly for September leads with editor Aaron Goodwin on writing. He puts the arrow right in the bull's eye. 

You'll need to join the National Genealogical Society to read the whole thing, but even the public part makes the point clear: are we trying to create something for posterity, or are we just fooling around?