Can Sherlock Holmes Solve The Kira Case

Earl Hamilton
• Wednesday, 23 December, 2020
• 13 min read

The knife creates a new list for each round which dictates the order in which it will kill. The list can only be changed by the knife when a new life occurs, and the way that it changes, is by inserting that new life somewhere into the list.

sherlock holmes technology
(Source: qz.com)


The knife is omniscient (edit: meaning; knows all), and can instantly predict given a list, can predict perfectly what will happen if this list is carried out. The knife has a perfect strategy (unless states otherwise), which (presumably) utilizes both its omniscience, and its predictive capability.

There is no way to stop the knife from killing based on the list. The body has an appearance of being stabbed in the head, the heart and the stomach, unless stated otherwise.

The knife kills the person at the first spot in the list every time LOSS CONDITION : Humanity needs to survive for 165 million years (the length of time the dinosaurs lived).

Round 1, is focused on changing humanity's abilities to figure out what's happening. Round 1a: The knife just starts killing today, at a rate of 1 death per second, we do not start with the knowledge that this is occurring, but there are no restrictions preventing us from figuring it out.

Round 1b: Same as 1a, but we are told the rules of the knife immediately, and we all believe it. Round 2a: The knife starts killing today at a rate of 1 death/s.

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(Source: comicvine.gamespot.com)

Bonus rounds, focus on balance issues For reference the current birth rate is approximately 4.3 per second, and the current death rate (pre-COVID), is approximately 1.8 per second.

That means that knife can 't win simply decreasing the population directly. What I was trying to focus on, is canned it strategically cause secondary deaths (or lower the birth rate), such that it overcomes this deficit.

Hovering over the elements would allow Sherlock to see key facts, atomic data, isotopes and much more. The RSC's forensic analysis of Sherlock's crime-fighting kit comes on the 10th anniversary of the great fictional detective receiving a posthumous Honorary Fellowship from the society.

His popularity is so great that there is an entire society devoted to Sherlock Holmes fan fiction and sometimes to pretending he is real, called the Baker Street Irregulars. He is universally beloved as the greatest fictional detective in the world, but he had more of a dark side than just his drug use and other eccentric habits.

In one story The Adventure of Charles Augustus Silverton, he becomes engaged to a housemaid to get closer to a villain he is trying to expose. In The Adventure of the Three Gables Sherlock Holmes engages in some very cruel and racist conversations with black people.

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(Source: hipertextual.com)

He basically calls a black boxer stupid based on his skin color and then goes so far as to make fun of the size of his lips. But he is really rather a harmless fellow, a great muscular, foolish, blustering baby, and easily cowed, as you have seen.” There are other times when more commonplace comments are made about people from Africa in general, that are somewhat disparaging.

It is also interesting to note that many scholars believe The Adventure of the Three Gables, which had the most obvious racism, was actually a forgery and not written by Arthur Conan Doyle at all. In the recent Sherlock Holmes movies, he is pictured taking evidence from crime scenes and hiding it from the police on multiple occasions.

Sherlock Holmes would always leave enough evidence for the police to figure out the same things he did if they were so inclined as we see in The Adventure of the Devils Foot. And he would often share information with them if he thought they were pursuing a useless line of inquiry, which we can see in The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge.

Sherlock Holmes stayed ahead of the police because he was simply better at deduction than they were; it does a disservice to his character to suggest that he would ever misappropriate evidence. Holmes even comments that he would be “lost without his Boswell,” in reference to the famous 18th century biographer of Samuel Johnson.

While he claims respect for Dr. Watson’s medical skills, it’s a poor show that he doesn’t think his friend could go along with his game. Robert Downey Jr portrays Holmes as dressing in an extremely eccentric manner, including ill-fitting clothes, strange ensembles that don’t make sense and as having a general air of bad hygiene.

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In fact, in The Hound of the Baskerville, Sherlock Holmes is out on the moor investigating a case in secret, living in an old shack, and still arranges to have fresh linen and other luxuries brought to him so that he can remain neat and clean. The deerstalker cap and calabash pipe combo was made up for theater and has never been a part of Sherlock’s normal outfit.

This might sound like nitpicking, but the calabash pipe and deerstalker cap combo have become synonymous with Sherlock Holmes, or detectives in general though it is entirely inaccurate. In popular culture many people view Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson as somewhere around middle age, getting older and quite experienced.

It’s fairly easy to make this mistake, because Dr. Watson had already served in the war and was a skilled doctor, and Holmes had created quite a reputation for himself. While Dr. Watson is easily overshadowed by his friend, he was quite an intelligent man, very skilled at practicing medicine and conducted himself very well during the war.

Holmes had retired to a quiet life of studying bees and even published what he called the magnum opus of his latter years, ” which was a book about his observations learned from beekeeping. After several high up government officials intervened, Holmes finally agreed to take the case in the story His Last Bow.

In the end Holmes catches up with the German secret agent who was causing all the trouble, and teams up with Dr. Watson for the final act. Many movies and TV specials felt that to increase viewer eyeballs, they needed to give Sherlock Holmes a love interest.

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We can see a dramatized example of this in the recent films where Robert Downey Jr plays a bisexual, eccentric playboy who is in love with both Irene Adler and his friend Dr. Watson. Irene Adler is only mentioned in one story, A Scandal in Bohemia, and the only thing she says to him is “Good-night, Mister Sherlock Holmes, ” while disguised as a passerby.

If you need any more evidence, Arthur Conan Doyle as “inhuman as a Babbage’s calculating machine,” and felt his famous detective was not at all interested in romance. Contrary to the popular notion that has been ingrained in us by so many television series and movies on the subject, Professor Moriarty was hardly Sherlock Holmes arch-nemesis.

Moriarty actually only appears in one story, The Final Problem, he is also mentioned briefly in The Valley of Fear but only in the vein of giving paid consultation to other criminals. In fact, Arthur Conan Doyle had tired of the character of Holmes and wanted to move on to other projects, so he mainly just made up the conflict between Moriarty and Holmes, so he could kill his most famous character, but the fans raised such an outcry that he reluctantly brought the detective back from the dead.

Hardly has there ever been a character with so much popularity that people wore black armbands in the streets to mourn his death. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, as written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between the years of 1887 and 1929, are well known and well respected the world over.

Although primarily famous as stories of detection of crime, there is a considerable amount to interest the medical reader–not least the parallels between the Comedian methods of logical reasoning and deduction and the diagnostic process employed by doctors. Moreover, the stories owe a great deal in their construction and execution to medicine–a prime example being constituted by the person and actions of one of the main protagonists, Dr John Watson.

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Conan Doyle often patterned characters in his writings after medical school professors and friends. Much can be gained in a discussion of these works by a consideration of the life of the author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Such is the popularity of his creation that in the minds of many, Holmes has achieved the status of an historical rather than a fictional character. He worked as a ship's doctor for a time, visiting first the Arctic and then the west coast of Africa.

Returning to England, he served as an assistant to a medical school colleague (George Bud), but this proved to be unsatisfactory and Conan Doyle opened his own practice in South sea in 1882. Although he apparently holds no medical qualifications, references in A Study in Scarlet show that he has a healthy interest in such matters.

2 Indeed, he is first encountered by Watson in a London hospital laboratory, devising a test for hemoglobin. In developing the character of Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle drew heavily on his medical experience.

Perhaps the most immediately obvious medical reference in the canon is personified in Dr Watson– Holmes's companion and chronicler of all but four of the adventures. This myth probably has its origins in the films of the 1930s and 1940s starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Watson.

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After a long period struggling for his life, he was sent straight back to England to recover, and seek some civilian employment. Watson has therefore had a far from humdrum background, and this lends him physical and mental toughness, which is often brought to the fore in the adventures.

Few other professional “intelligentsia” (for instance lawyers) could have believably had such experiences, and they add considerably to Watson as a character. Returning to this issue of Watson's intelligence, there is considerable evidence in the canon and in some other related works that Watson strove to emulate Holmes's skills–with (as he says himself) “indifferent” 8 success–but very often the deductions he produces are plausible and intelligent, even though the end result is incorrect.

An example of this is the little-known “How Watson learned the trick”, a short dialogue published in The Book Of The Queen's Doll's House Library in 1924. On cursory examination, this seems reasonable– Watson's medical nature is never really asserted, and he spends most of his time as an intellectual foil for Holmes.

It seems possible that (perhaps without realizing it) Conan Doyle was illustrating through his characters two sides to his own personality in a “Jekyll and Hyde” manner. Holmes represents one side of the coin–of exceptional ability, seized with bouts of intense activity and then relapsing into periods of extreme listlessness and lethargy.

Watson on the other hand is solid, reliable and capable–yet unable to match to any degree the bursts of frantic activity exhibited by his opposite number, nor yet the ability to solve problems. One could imagine Conan Doyle through the mouthpiece of Holmes scoffing at (as he sees it) the plodding, formulaic methods employed by some of his colleagues as compared with those used by the likes of Joseph Bell.

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At numerous times in the stories, Holmes is heard to extol the value of imagination–and to deplore its lack in his colleagues at Scotland Yard. In Holmes's constant pleas for imagination, one can almost perceive early stirrings of holistic medicine.

One of the reasons for Holmes's success is that he looks to the wider picture–he does not restrict himself to the bare facts, but uses his imagination and knowledge to formulate theories beyond what is immediately apparent. There is one final aspect to consider in terms of symbolic representations, and that is the character of Mycroft Holmes, brother to Sherlock.

He first appears in The Greek Interpreter in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and is described initially by Holmes as being “… My superior in observation and deduction…” 12 Conan Doyle, with his drive and enthusiasm must have found lack of “ambition and energy” in his colleagues very difficult to understand, and indeed to forgive.

Diagnostic medicine may be likened to detective work, in so far as processes of observation and deduction are employed in order to arrive at a conclusion. The methods of Sherlock Holmes have frequently been used 13 as a paradigm for the diagnostic process, due in no small part to the medical background outlined above.

The normal diagnostic process undertaken by a modern physician encompasses three separate components: history, physical examination and investigations, each contributing less than the preceding one. This process is mirrored closely by that of Sherlock Holmes (especially in the short stories) and is characterized by a methodical and logical approach.

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Holmes is also a great advocate of observation, in which the trained eye picks up signs (otherwise missed) which have an important bearing on the solution to the problem. In arriving at his conclusions, Holmes relies chiefly on his methodical approach–on only very rare occasions does luck play a part.

For example, those portrayed by Agatha Christie generally make observations as they go along, without any obvious method (and indeed, often depending on lucky chance). Although one can admire the acumen of Hercules Poirot or Miss Marple, comparatively little insight is given into the processes of detection they employ.

It is interesting to note that Holmes himself criticizes other literary detectives of the time, who might be said to have similar methods. In A Study in Scarlet he is heard to be very disparaging of Edgar Allan Poe's “Duping” and of Gabriel's “Leon”, describing the former as “… a very inferior fellow …” and the latter as “… .a miserable bungler…”.

These comments epitomize his methods, and also can be used to demonstrate clearly how closely aspects of Comedian detection compare with the diagnostic process. The link to medical practice is clear–in particular, the folly of making assumptions or guesses before the facts of the matter are ascertained as good as possible.

“It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Again, the importance of observing the fine details is stressed; such “trifles” taken together can be central to arriving at a diagnosis.

For example, a bluish tint to the whites of the eyes may suggest a diagnosis of pathogenesis imperfect. Also pitted fingernails in psoriasis arthritis are easily missed, but can be crucial in making the diagnosis.

Finally, in The Sign of Four, perhaps Holmes's most celebrated comment: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” 19 A good example of this is contained in the short story, The Yellow Face, taken from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

The bulk of the passage (being a description of the case) is omitted; only Holmes's actual questions are quoted: Moreover, Holmes has apparently formulated a theory while listening to the story, and then asks these questions in order to test it.

This compares closely with the “ideal” method of taking a history–bearing in mind all the possible diagnoses, and then asking appropriate questions to rule them in or out. The detective then pieces together the available facts, asking the appropriate questions and finally is able to complete the puzzle, denouncing the criminal.

Seldom does he follow rabbit trails, or spend a long time casting around for ideas. Since the picture is made complete at the end, it is possible to look back over the story and decided whether all the various facts, implications and hypotheses were correct or not.

Cold discussion of the diagnostic process in abstract and in case histories fulfills the criteria for fictional accounts, rather than real life. Case histories are also written from end to beginning, the eventual diagnosis representing the “picture”.

In doing this, it is possible to describe the various facts surrounding the case in such a way that all are accounted for, and the result will form a logical whole. With hindsight, it is possible to identify and extract only those processes which are important in producing the result and hence the case history as written is artificial.

Overall and Rebus cite a typical example of a case history which falls into this trap. None of the usual risk factors are present, and although the patient recovers uneventfully the doctors are frustrated at not knowing what was responsible.

Finally, a chance remark of the patient's that he works in a dry cleaner and inhaled some fumes a few days before being taken ill give the doctors the clue they need to pronounce that tetrachloromethane was the cause of the trouble. Secondly, the vital “clue” was delivered purely by coincidence, not relying to any degree on the acumen of the treating doctors, nor indeed to any process of logic.

The final step between knowing about inhaling dry-cleaning chemicals and liver disease is a simple one, requiring only recourse to appropriate textbooks. The case is written up, however, in an outcome-oriented manner, whereby the final result (discovery of poisoning by tetrachloromethane) is seen to be the logical conclusion of the diagnostic process as a whole.

Very rarely does diagnosis of disease consist of a simple trail of logic from problem to solution. The facts of the presenting complaint are clearly important, but at a more abstract level elements of the experience of the doctor (the “gut feeling”) come into play.

Medicine contains few absolutes–the clinical pictures painted by the textbooks are seldom seen in their entirety in real life. Such cases can present in a wide variety of forms, and make the description of a logical sequence from symptoms and signs to final diagnosis much more difficult.

Deductive reasoning as employed by Sherlock Holmes undoubtedly forms an important part of the modern medical diagnostic process. The real skill of the doctor lies, however, in operating simultaneously on a variety of levels, pulling together straightforward factual knowledge with more abstract impressions and experiences to produce an appropriate response.

In The Yellow Face (from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 23 as mentioned above) Holmes develops a totally erroneous theory, but in the pursuit of it uncovers the truth–not as a result of his knowledge or any deductive process, but instead as a result of his presence and his energy being directed at the problem. Conan Doyle is known to have been dismissive of them, regarding them more than a way of earning money than achieving great literature.

24 It could be argued that this would render the analysis of Holmes's methods invalid, since Conan Doyle was merely setting out to write a good story rather than seriously describing scientific investigations. Analyses are therefore of value to bring out both intentional and perhaps unintentional references and parallels between Conan Doyle's “fairy kingdom” and our real world.

Further to this, many similarities can be drawn between the deductive methods of Holmes and the diagnostic process of modern doctors. Medicine would offer little to keep him from returning to the familiar world of chemical bottles, magnifying glasses and fine tobacco.

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