Selling Trump’s Wall: How a Huckster is Using GoFundMe to Benefit Himself

A disabled veteran and former fake news huckster has squeezed $17 million out of American conservatives with a promise to “fund the wall.” The press has covered the crowdfunding campaign, and even dug a bit into his shady prior endeavors. But I can’t find a single report really analyzing how the man behind this campaign, Brian Kolfage, is benefiting personally. He’s given an audience of disaffected conservatives, frustrated by Trump’s failures, a way to buy the feeling of a successful movement. It’s an unscrupulous way to monetize irrationality and xenophobia, and it’s going to succeed even as the campaign to fund the wall fails.

(Kolfage has sued people in the past for criticizing him. With that in mind, I’ll point out the obvious: this piece shares previously reported facts about Kolfage and his campaign, as well as my opinions based on those facts. For example, the numbers below come from the linked public sources. My conclusion based on those reported facts, that Kolfage is an unscrupulous huckster, is purely my opinion. I do not have any reason to believe that he has broken any laws.)

Unneeded, unwise, unfunded.
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Closing my browser tabs: September 3, 2014

Happy Wednesday! I’ve been home for a few days, getting over jet lag and back into the routine of the semester. I’ll probably do a longer post about China when I have time to download all the photos from the camera. In the meantime here’s a shot of the Bund in Shanghai:



While in China, I accumulated a huge backlog of articles to read, and as I go through them I decided I’d share a few of them with you (I’m thinking of making it a regular feature here). Continue reading

The genetic prehistory of the North American Arctic

I’ve been waiting for this paper for months! The Willerslev group has just published the results of their study on ancient DNA from Paleo-Eskimos in the North American Arctic. Unfortunately, this article is behind a paywall at the journal Science, but I’ll give you a brief summary of the results, and talk a bit about why this paper matters and what it means for our understanding of the peopling of the Americas. Continue reading

Introducing myself in more than 140 characters

“I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine” -Neil Armstrong

There were only two possible career choices for me: astronaut or archaeologist. I chose the latter based on a combination of reasons, which included watching the Challenger explode in kindergarten, having bad eyesight, and discovering Elizabeth Peters books in fourth grade.

I combined Ph.D.s  in archaeology and biology to become an anthropological geneticist. These days, I delve deep into the genomes of living and dead people to see what I can deduce about their origins and prehistory. I divide my time between traveling to the high Arctic to excavate human remains and collect DNA samples and sitting in front of a computer reading lines of code and endless strings of AGTCs.

I’ve been training in martial arts since I was a little girl, and have had a few fights in Muay Thai, MMA, and boxing. Throughout the course of my life, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and befriend some of the most extraordinary people in the fighter community, and I hope to share some of their stories and insights here.

My fellow scientists are curious about my love of fighting; my fighter friends seem to be interested in my scientific research. This is a place where I write about both aspects of my life.