But if it was not incarceration, then what did cause the crime decline?There is no shortage of candidates. Every year, it seems, a new study advances a novel explanation. Levitt attributes about half the crime drop to the legalization of abortion. Amherst economist Jessica Reyes attributes about half the violent crime drop to the unleading of gasoline after the Clean Air Act. Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring credits the police as the central cause. All three theories likely played some role.Instead of a single, dominant cause, our research points to a vast web of factors, often complex, often interacting, and some unexpected. Of the theories we examined, we found the following factors had some effect on bringing down crime: a growth in income (5 to 10 percent), changes in alcohol consumption (5 to 10 percent), the aging population (0 to 5 percent), and decreased unemployment (0 to 3 percent). Policing also played a role, with increased numbers of police in the 1990s reducing crime (0 to 10 percent) and the introduction of CompStat having an even larger effect (5 to 15 percent).But none is solely, or even largely, responsible for the crime drop. Unfortunately, we could not fully test a few theories, as the data did not exist at the detailed level we needed for our analysis. For those, we analyzed past research, finding that inflation and consumer confidence (individuals’ belief about the strength of the economy) probably had some effect on crime. The legalization of abortion and unleading of gasoline may also have played some role.In aggregate, the fourteen factors we identified can explain some of the drop in crime in the 1990s. But even adding all of them together fails to explain the majority of the decrease.
Friday, February 13, 2015
We don't know exactly why, but we're pretty sure that high incarceration rates didn't do it. [Link]
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Low vaccination rates in Silicon Valley. [Link]
The scientists, technologists, and engineers who populate Silicon Valley and the California Bay Area deserve their reputation as innovators, building entire new economies on the strength of brains and imagination. But some of these people don’t seem to be vaccinating their children.
Friday, January 16, 2015
It's ok to overuse them and hurt people with these because the victims are poor and black. [Link]
Throwing a flashbang into a room sight unseen is negligent - unless you're a cop.
Of course there were no charges. This was done by cops.f there was ever a flashbang injury that might have warranted criminal charges against an officer, it would be the case of Bou Bou Phonesavanh, a 19-month-old baby who last May was nearly killed by a flashbang during a drug raid in Georgia. The case garnered national attention.Bou Bou was sleeping in a portable playpen at the foot of his parents’ bed when the Habersham County Special Response Team broke down the door to the room and threw a flashbang. The grenade landed on a pillow next to Bou Bou’s face. The blast blew a hole in his chest, severed his nose, and tore apart his lips and mouth. The SWAT team was looking for the boy’s cousin, Wanis Thonetheva, who a day earlier had allegedly sold a bag of methamphetamine to a confidential informant on the property. But Thonetheva wasn’t there, and no drugs or weapons were found. Hours later, Thonetheva surrendered peacefully when officers knocked on the door at a nearby house where he was staying.At the hospital, Bou Bou was placed in a medically induced coma for almost a month. He has had eight reconstructive surgeries, including skin grafts, and racked up $1.6 million of medical bills that his family cannot afford to pay. In the next few months, he will need surgery to remove black flashbang powder that embedded in his face, arms and chest before it gets infected. And because his skin grafts won’t grow as he grows, Bou Bou will need reconstructive surgery every two years for the next 20 years. His mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, said that she and her husband plan to donate their own skin for the future grafts. Bou Bou often wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and shaking and holding his mouth. “It almost seems like he’s remembering what happened,” said Alecia Phonesavanh, who has been unable to hold down a job since the accident because of the demands of caring for her son.
Throwing a flashbang into a room sight unseen is negligent - unless you're a cop.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Friday, January 09, 2015
What we believe. [Link]
We in the West believe that blasphemy is a right and not a crime. And we in the West believe that Jews (and everyone else, for that matter) should be allowed to remain alive and have museums. (I would note, for those who believe that recent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe were caused by specific actions of the Israeli government, that a) anti-Semites cause anti-Semitism, not Israel; and, b) the Brussels attack occurred in May, well before the summer war in Gaza.)
The Charlie Hebdo massacre seems to be the most direct attack on Western ideals by jihadists yet. I’ve seen arguments advancing the idea that 9/11 represents the purest expression of Islamist rage at a specific Western idea— capitalism, in that case—but satire and the right to blaspheme are directly responsible for modernity. In the words of Simon Schama, “Irreverence is the lifeblood of freedom.”The French president, Francois Hollande, said earlier today that, “No barbaric act will ever extinguish freedom of the press.” This statement is, as Claire Berlinski has pointed out, self-falsifying. This barbaric act, she notes, literally extinguished the press. The most recent iteration of the Islamist terror campaign in Europe has focused on Jews and cartoonists, but it will not end with Jews and cartoonists, unless it is comprehensively defeated.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
More speech, not less. [Link]
From Ross Douthat:
If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said, because otherwise the violent have veto power over liberal civilization, and when that scenario obtains it isn’t really a liberal civilization any more. Again, liberalism doesn’t depend on everyone offending everyone else all the time, and it’s okay to prefer a society where offense for its own sake is limited rather than pervasive. But when offenses are policed by murder, that’s when we need more of them, not less, because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed.In this sense, many of the Western voices criticizing the editors of Hebdo have had things exactly backward: Whether it’s theObama White House or Time Magazine in the past or the Financial Times and (God help us) the Catholic League today, they’ve criticized the paper for provoking violence by being needlessly offensive and “inflammatory” (Jay Carney’s phrase), when the reality is that it’s precisely the violence that justifies the inflammatory content.Read the whole thing. Surprisingly, there are a number of readers who comment that this is the first time they’ve ever agreed with Douthat.And in a bit of a disconnect, it’s ironic how Douthat’s piece is in the NYT but the paper has seemingly opted not to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoon.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Free speech must not be silenced. [Link]
Self-censoring out of fear means self-imposition of shari’a (Islamic law).Self-censoring out of “respect” (actually just a euphemism for fear) means you are submitting to the terrorists’ worldview.The way to overcome them in this instance is to overwhelm them with disrespect and mockery.They can silence one magazine, but they can’t silence the entire Internet.Every blogger, of every political stripe, be it left, right, and everywhere in between, needs to realize that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are the two keystones of your ideology, whatever it may be. You need to make a stand. You need to make these terrorists lose the ideological battle.And the way to do that is to republish the Mohammed cartoons yourselves. Today. Right now.Fill the world with images of Mohammed so that the terrorists realize they can never expunge them all.But where to get the pictures? Easy.The Mohammed Image Archive, which I have hosted at zombietime since the day of the original “Mohammed cartoon crisis” back in May of 2006, has not only a full collection of the original cartoons, but more importantly the largest collection of Mohammed imagery ever assembled in the history of the world.
Monday, January 05, 2015
Because browbeating the people who already agree with you (brunch goes in Manhattan are pretty much guaranteed to be liberal) is how to make change happen. [Link]
Addressing staff and patrons, they shouted: 'Every 28 hours, a black person in America is killed by the police. These are our brothers and sisters. Today and every day, we honor their lives.'"Twitter was busy with those for and against weighing in. [Link]
Thursday, December 18, 2014
The author of It’s Okay To Hate Republicans. [Link]
A University of Michigan department chairwoman has published an article titled, “It’s Okay To Hate Republicans,” which will probably make all of her conservative students feel really comfortable and totally certain that they’re being graded fairly.“I hate Republicans,” communications department chairwoman and professor Susan J. Douglas boldly declares in the opening of the piece. “I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching , , , or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.’”She writes that although the fact that her “tendency is to blame the Republicans . . . may seem biased,” historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad!
Douglas said that in the 1970s she did work for a Republican, Rhode Island’s senate minority leader Fred Lippitt, but she hates them all now because Lippitt was a “brand of Republican” who no longer exists in that he was “fiscally conservative but progressive about women’s rights, racial justice and environmental preservation.”Republicans now, she writes, are focused on the “determined vilification” of others, and have “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.”(Apparently, the irony of this accusation given the content of her own article was lost on her.)
Thursday, December 11, 2014
In this case, those shoulders are a little smaller, but no less impressive. [Link]
Wikipedia Entry.Margaret Hamilton earned her BA in math from Earlham College, but obviously learned about programming on the job—there was no other way. In the photo above, she is standing in front of the printouts of the code for the Apollo guidance system, a lot of which she wrote and which she oversaw.She was all of 31 when the Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the moon, running her code. (Apollo 11 was able to land at all only because she designed the software robustly enough to handle buffer overflows and cycle-stealing.)
At NASA Hamilton was responsible for helping pioneer the Apollo on-board guidance software required to navigate to/from and land on the moon, and its multiple variations used on numerous missions (including the subsequent Skylab). She worked to gain hands-on experience during a time when computer science and software engineering courses or disciplines were non-existent.In the process, she produced innovations in the fields of system design and software development, enterprise and process modelling, preventative systems design, development paradigm, formal systems (and software) modelling languages, system-oriented objects for systems modelling and development, automated life-cycle environments, methods for maximizing software reliability and reuse, domain analysis, correctness by built-in language properties, open-architecture techniques for robust systems, full life-cycle automation, quality assurance, seamless integration (including systems to software), distributed processing systems, error detection and recovery techniques, man/machine interface systems, operating systems, end-to-end testing techniques, and life-cycle management techniques.These in turn led her to develop concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling, and man-in-the-loop decision capability, which became the foundation for modern, ultra-reliable software design.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
At what point do we say enough? [Link]
Links for anyone interested… I have many more pages of links to these stories of cops killing innocent unarmed people, and cops never get in trouble (at worst let go from the job)….Cops murder Kelly Thomas, a gentle homeless man with schizophrenia, because they didn't want him sitting in that area and threatened to “f--- him up” before killing him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KU0Imk2BstgCops threw flashbang into baby's crib (with children's toys all around the yard of the house and with no police work to justify the warrant).http://www.salon.com/2014/06/24/a_swat_team_blew_a_hole_in_my_2_year_old_son/http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/05/30/drug-task-force-that-burned-a-toddler-this-week-also-killed-an-innocent-pastor-in-2009/Cops shoot and kill a 7 year old girl who was asleep during a midnight home raid (while film crews were filming for TV): http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/aiyana-stanley-jones/#Cop kills unarmed man holding baby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMDIK4bOpwkCops shoot to kill without even identifying the target: http://www.hlntv.com/article/2014/04/11/john-winkler-shot-dead-police-mistaken-identity-tv-producer?hpt=hp_t2Cop shoots and kills homeless Albuquerque man for no reason:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/10/albuquerque-ordered-pay-6m-wrongful-deathCop kills innocent, unarmed father in a stairwell because he claimed the stairwell was dark:http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/21/us/new-york-police-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2Cop’s record cleared for accidentally shooting boy in head: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=44700Cop shoots boy in chest when he answered the door, mistaking a Wii controller for a gun:http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/attorney-teen-was-shot-having-wii-controller-hand/ndSrL/Cops beat delusional man to death as citizens watch: http://atlasleft.org/washington-man-cries-for-help-as-hes-beaten-to-death-by-police-video/Cops unleash attack dog on innocent college kid already being restrained on ground by numerous officers, no punishment to officers: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/02/us/police-beating-video/Cops shoot and kill elderly man in his own garage at night while checking out the wrong address:http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/27/police-shoot-dead-grandfather-72-while-searching-the-wrong-home-for-burglar-blame-poor-lighting/Cops shoot at man in streets in NY, hit bystanders: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/15/justice/times-square-police-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2Cops lied to obtain a no-knock warrant and shot and killed a grandma in her own home, then planted drugs to cover up the crime: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston_shootingCops shoots and kills honors student at college campus: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2519842/Valedictorian-honors-student-shot-dead-college-campus-cop-routine-traffic-stop.htmlCops shoot and wound man getting cigarettes from his own car at his own house for no reason at all:http://gawker.com/unarmed-man-shot-by-deputies-inside-his-own-car-outside-949237195Cops kill man by compressing him while arresting him while he was distraught:http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/26/justice/oklahoma-arrest-death-video/index.html?hpt=hp_t2Police shoot diabetic man after his wife called for medical help, they claim he picked up a knife:http://reason.com/blog/2013/10/07/woman-says-she-called-911-for-an-ambulanCops shoot man holding a toy gun in walmart with no warning and lied in their report.http://www.whio.com/news/news/crime-law/special-grand-jury-selected-john-crawford-case/nhRwM/Covert officers assault girls for buying bottled water, cops thought it was alcohol:http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/07/02/198047492/felony-arrest-of-student-who-bought-water-riles-many-in-virginiaCop shoot elderly man reaching for cane: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/03/14/mxp-sot-deputy-shoots-elderly-mane-reaching-for-cane.cnn.htmlCops kill man with garden hose using a shotgun and no warning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6S7LRrCru8Florida man survives 13 shots by officers while sitting in his car: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/21/us/florida-shot-by-mistake/index.htmlCops almost shoot and kill a hospital-worker in her own home with a warrant for an entire apartment complex and screaming at her door: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130718/COLUMNIST/130719612/2256/NEWS?p=1&tc=pgCops raiding small friendly poker games with militarized tactics, accidentally killing people-- dying man says “Why did you shoot me, I was reading a book.”:http://www.salon.com/2013/07/07/%E2%80%9Cwhy_did_you_shoot_me_i_was_reading_a_book_the_new_warrior_cop_is_out_of_control/Cop beats handcuffed teen and is acquitted because video ‘should only be used to protect cops, not prosecute them.’ http://intellihub.com/2013/07/05/judge-finds-cop-not-guilty-of-assault-after-refusing-to-watch-video-of-assault/Cop purposely holds onto door handle so he would have the right to shoot and kill a Sunday school teacher who was driving away from the cops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BSPhC916GQMCops use dubious excuses to justify lethal force: http://www.allgov.com/news/us-and-the-world/border-patrol-used-dubious-tactics-to-create-pretext-to-justify-shootings-cbp-tried-to-bury-scathing-report-140302?news=852571Cop shoots homeless man who was deaf and doing woodcarving: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/22/us/44-officers-are-charged-after-ohio-sting-operation.html?pagewanted=all&src=pmCop shoots man in back several times, then stands over him and shoots again to kill him—questionable whether the man actually was armed or not—conflicting evidence given. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=159PM7ZKcv0Cop attacks random people in crowd and punches NY judge, judge shocked that cop not charged:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/judge-thomas-raffaele-attacker-charges_n_1822928.htmlDrunk NY cops shoot at people: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/05/three-drunk-nypd-officers-shoot-at-people.htmlCop with dismal record shoots 12 year old boy with toy gun: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/03/officer-who-fatally-shot-tamir-rice-had-been-judged-unfitCop shoots and kills handcuffed man: https://news.vice.com/article/el-paso-releases-video-of-cop-executing-handcuffed-man-wheres-the-angerEdit: Whoa never got gold before, thank you very much, unfortunate that it is for such a sad post. Also, just to clarify, I don't seek these stories out, but they began to disturb me and so I just began pasting them in a document when I read them on the news. There are many more pages of links that also involve police corruption and abuse of various sorts. I only posted some links here because these mistakes and abuses have gotten out of control and few people seem to recognize it. Thank you.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
President fighting for relevance after mid term elections. [Link]
Remember what he said before the election:
The Republican capture of the Senate culminated a season of discontent for the president — and may yet open a period of even deeper frustration. Sagging in the polls and unwelcome in most competitive races across the country, Mr. Obama bristled as the last campaign that would influence his presidency played out while he sat largely on the sidelines. He privately complained that it should not be a judgment on him. “He doesn’t feel repudiated,” the aide said Tuesday night.Of course not. That would require a level of self awareness that it is pretty obvious he doesn't have.
Remember what he said before the election:
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
A quiz on military style police tactics. [Link]
Today's Quiz:You should find this one more difficult than the previous quiz.Police did not carry out an aggressive, military-style raid to accomplish which of the following purposes?(a) To find the source of a parody Twitter feed(b) To check a bar for underage drinkers(c) To recover a large number of overdue library books(d) To enforce copyright law against a DJ(e) To check whether barbers had valid barbering licenses(f) To apprehend Tibetan monks who overstayed their visas(g) They did that in all these casesI think it is worth considering this one for a moment, so I'm going to put the answer and further discussion after the jump below.
If you find it slightly terrifying that they did this (and by "this," I mean used a SWAT team or a gang of officers using similar tactics) for any of those purposes, congratulations, you are sane. The answer is (c): to my knowledge, a SWAT team has never been used to recover overdue library books, but I think that example is no less ridiculous than the others. And inevery one of those other cases, police aggressively stormed the premises with guns drawn, wearing body armor and even masks, though they had no reason to think there would be any danger.The Tibetan monks were here on a peace mission, for Christ's sake.Well, not for Christ's sake, but you know what I mean.
Always bet on text. [Link]
At every step of communication technology, textual encoding comes first, everything else after. Because it's vastly cheaper on a symbol-by-symbol basis. You have a working optical telegraph network running in 1790 in France. You the better part of a century of electrical telegraphy, trans-oceanic cables and everything, before anyone bothers with trying to carry voice. You have decades of teleprinter and text-only computer networking, mail and news, chat and publishing, editing and diagnostics, before bandwidth gets cheap enough for images, voice and video. You have pagers, SMS, WAP, USSD and blackberries before iPhones. You haveTeletext and BBSs, netnews and gopher before the web. And today many of the best, and certainly the most efficient parts of the web remain text-centric. I can download all of wikipedia and carry it around on the average smartphone.
Monday, October 13, 2014
The TSA is NOT listening to your complaint. [Link]
Today I begin a series of posts that will use documents obtained from the TSA following a FOIA request. I asked for, and got, complaints sent to the agency in the last year by active duty military personnel or combat-wounded military veterans. To the TSA’s credit, I filed my request in August, and – very much to my surprise – got 216 pages of documents in early October. While the agency has fiercely resisted transparency, they got this one right. And the documents I received are pretty revealing.First thing the documents tell us: when you complain to the TSA, you aren’t complaining to the TSA. Whether you call or use their website to write to them, your complaint is processed and answered by an employee of K4 Solutions, the TSA’s call center contractor. This form does not send information directly to the TSA. If you use it, you’re writing to a corporation. To be sure, the forms often indicate that the complaints have been sent on to TSA officials at the appropriate airport, but K4 Solutions is a layer of insulation. It is not TSA headquarters, and your complaints don’t go directly to TSA headquarters. The contractor controls the messages, and decides where and if to route them.Second, news stories about TSA outrages always contain the obligatory statement from the TSA press office, and it’s always a meaningless jumble of lines read from a script: the TSA takes passenger safety very seriously and has multiple layers of security. The responses to TSA complaints are exactly the same. The K4 employee who reads or hears your complaint has a scripted set of available responses, and cuts and pastes a set of paragraphs to answer your call or letter. The amount of thought that goes into that cutting and pasting is, let’s put this charitably, negligible.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Or Hell freezes over. [Link]
It’s always arrogance that gets the powerful, in the end. Arrogance and pride. Because here’s the situation – and I write this with an enormous grin of schadenfreude on my face from thinking about how progressive activists will react to what I’m about to write – it’s clear by now that George W Bush knows how to beat a terrorist insurgency, and Barack Obama does not. Barack Obama’s previous Iraq policy was a miserable failure. Barack Obama’s foreign policy staff was incompetent. The President himself demonstrated that, when it came to terrorists and figuring out why they hate us, Obama was fundamentally intellectually incurious and far too prone to episodes ofepistemic closure. Do I need to keep using all those progressive antiwar sneers as handy flails, or has everybody gotten the point by now?Excellent. So, now that we’ve established Barack Obama’s past litany of failure, the question becomes: how can the man fix his mistakes? – Because it’d be swell if that happened, of course. Well… Barack Obama could start out by going to his predecessor – that would be George W Bush – and asking for help. This would, of course, humiliate Obama’s supporters (and Obama himself); which is unfortunate. For them. But that’s not really anybody else’s problem. The bottom line is that Barack Obama should maybe not regularly chat with GWB; but Obama should certainly have Bush (and probably Bill Clinton*) over on a semi-regular basis. These guys have been where Obama is; they know the score.And, hey: it’s even good politics. After all: George W Bush polls rather better than Barack Obama does right now.
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Projection. They thought that way about Bush, and can't comprehend why Republicans don't reciprocate. [Link]
WELL, AFTER ALL THOSE YEARS OF BUSH ASSASSINATION-FANTASIES BY THE LEFT, YOU CAN SEE WHY THEY’D BE PUZZLED: New York Times: Say, Why Don’t Republicans Want President Obama To Be Killed? “Of course we want the president to be safe. Those who are surprised by this perhaps need to spend some more time with their ideological opponents, or — and this will be harder, I grant — spend a little more time examining what it is about their ideology that led them to conflate political opposition and violence in the first instance.”Death of a President