Here’s something to amuse and educate you over the washing-up: a fine episode of the Freakonomics Radio podcast, which manages to link Ecclesiastes, mediaeval trials, Van Halen, and the identification of terrorists.
Quite a lot of unanswered questions about the data here – I’d like to know more – but it’s definitely fun food for thought!
Thanks to Elaine, one of Rose’s former students, for the link.
UPDATE: A little historical knowledge is a dangerous thing. Rose points out that most such crimes in the English mediaeval court, at least, were capital ones, so there was little incentive to admit your guilt rather than take the ordeal, if given the choice! Other European courts, though, may have been different…