FUNNY FINGERPRINT FIND
by Steve Everist
"Minutiae points are unique data
points on the finger, such as the places on a finger where a swirl or ridge
comes to an end."
(Send in your FFF's... the folder is empty!)
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
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at "Conclusions That Can Be Drawn from the Detail
Present", by Dusty Clark.
Rich Raneau responds to Dusty's article.
RE: Conclusions That Can Be Drawn from the Detail
by Rich Raneau
Thanks for writing the article.
There are two points, which need to be discussed further.
Using statistical information in a
Datum vs. Data vs. Information and its
relation to Recording vs. Reporting
information in a scientific venue:
I understand the use of statistics or relaying probabilities as an
analogy, but is should not be used in a scientific discussion with out using
the preferred definitions.
The example used in the article indicates that there are two possible
outcomes: Individualization or Exclusion. These two possibilities as stated
is not supported by a “never be greater that 50%” or “Equal conclusion”
Let’s take an example for clarity:
A penny is given for testing with the instruction (hypothesis, if you
please) of finding the probability of flipping heads or tails. Since there
are only two possible outcomes (excluding landing on the edge), can we say
that there is a 50% change of getting either one? NO! The experiment still
must be performed. Each flip represents a piece of DATUM and is RECORDED as
such. It is only when the coin has been flipped let’s say 10,000 times (the
law of large numbers enters here) that the DATUM (singular) becomes enough
DATA (plural) that the data can be examined for possible INFORMATION, which
can be extracted. If the data show that 5,000 times the head was visible and
5,000 times the tail was visible, then the conclusion can be inferred (and
REPORTED) that the chance of getting a head or tail on any flip is an
“equally likely event” or 50% -- for that coin only. If however, the data
show the head visible 7,500 times and tail visible 2,500 times, the
possibility of two outcomes is not changed, it is still only two (2) --
head or tail. But the conclusion of the two possibilities being “two
possible equal conclusions” or “equally likely” is not supported. What has
happened is that the “fairness” of the coin (weight distribution) has been
tested and the bias of the flip, etc.
The statement “there are two possible outcomes” is supported by reference to
Resolution V, the “never greater than 50%” and “two possible equal
conclusions” is not supported in the articles argument, without further and
considerable explanation. We should not confuse the issues of two outcomes
and there must be a 50% chance.
Datum vs. Data vs. Information and its relation to Recording vs. Reporting
The second point is more esoteric. Should a report include the “unable to
exclude” option. The argument would have to center around whether or not the
perceived information is actually a conclusion or just a collection of data.
In any comparison it takes less information to exclude, than it does to
finally individualize. If you only have a limited amount of information and
cannot find a reason to exclude, based on actually performing the
experiment, then inclusion is certainly a second “possible outcome.” A
possible outcome as seen above cannot be stated as a chance of either
outcome, without proof. It would be, as in the example above, like flipping
the coin and running down the hall and reporting that you have achieved a
head on the first flip; then running back to perform the next flip. At the
completion of the next flip, the run and tell process is duplicated. The
question is properly asked, should the report include a piece of
intermediate DATUM or DATA. The argument would be that the information
presented in the article should be or could be (this is a management issue)
RECORDED in the notes, but does not reach the level of REPORTING.
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