October 31, 2006
Internet porn, a good thing? It seems the number of rapes goes down with greater access to porn.
The bottom line on these experiments is, “More Net access, less rape.” A 10 percent increase in Net access yields about a 7.3 percent decrease in reported rapes. States that adopted the Internet quickly saw the biggest declines. And, according to Clemson professor Todd Kendall, the effects remain even after you control for all of the obvious confounding variables, such as alcohol consumption, police presence, poverty and unemployment rates, population density, and so forth.
the effects are strongest among 15-year-old to 19-year-old perpetrators
The case for this being down to porn is pretty tenuous. perhaps they’re all playing world of warcraft.
October 26, 2006
maybe that’s unkind, but it’s certainly the kind of accusation made against him by the god-botherers.
The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science, especially in the schools of America. I am one of those scientists who feels that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance. We even have to go out on the attack ourselves, for the sake of reason and sanity. But it must be a positive attack, for science and reason have so much to give. They are not just useful, they enrich our lives in the same kind of way as the arts do. Promoting science as poetry was one of the things that Carl Sagan did so well, and I aspire to continue his tradition.
I guess Carl Sagan is a kind of John the Baptist.
Dawkins takes a stand against, what he calls, “organised ignorance”. There are some classic lines in his video, like:
Feminists and homosexuals have taught us the value of consciousness-raising.
It will be interesting to see how his foundation fares.
A story in The Times shows how much of Iraq’s historical artifacts are being destroyed by looters.
Among examples in the letter, seen yesterday by The Times, was a Babylonian sculpture of a lion dating from about 1700BC that lost its head because the terracotta shattered as looters tried to remove it.
Another was the destruction of the Ana Minaret on the Euphrates about 190 miles (310km) west of Baghdad, revered for 1,000 years as a unique construction. It was blown up by Islamic extremists apparently for fear that it would be used as an American observation post.
Professor Gibson said that damage done to the great cities of Sumer and Babylon had been “very extensive”.
The city of Larsa — a Babylonian capital from about 1900-1800BC — bears tracks from diggers that are being used to scrape up the site and carry the dirt to the side where it is sifted for objects. The city of Isin — a capital from 2000-1900BC — has been pitted, some holes going as deep as 10 metres (33ft), and there are tunnels running out from the pits.
Professor Gibson said: “This damage is so severe that archaeologists may never return to the site.”
No mention is made in the article of the extensive damage done by US and UK forces during and after (?) the war. One example I remember was watching US tanks driving over the remnants of the city of Ur. Ur was once thought to be the oldest city on earth. It used to be protected by one man living in a hut. When the historian Michael Wood visited (it’s miles from anywhere), he picked up a 5000 year old piece of mosaic from the dirt. He showed it to the guard, who said he could keep it as a souvenir.
October 24, 2006
If you are a black cab driver, constantly delivering passengers or roaming around London in search of a fare, what do you do when you need to pee.
Note the wide neck of the fabric conditioner bottle, above. Out of my office window this morning i watched a black cab draw up to the kerb, pull out a fabric conditioner bottle, unzip, and relieve himself. He then screwed the top back on and drove off. So now you know.
October 21, 2006
we’ve been here before, a drought in rural Australia.
Every four days, saddled with dust-bowl fields and a mountain of debt, one male farmer takes his own life. That suicide rate is double the national average.
another ‘no shit, sherlock’ story.
a canadian doctor warns of the high suicide rate among cancer patients.
At about 24 suicides per 100,000 among cancer patients per year, the rate was between two and two-and-a-half times that of the general population. Overall, the U.S. population records 10.6 suicides per 100,000 people, including cancer patients.
Dr. Kendal, a radiation oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre, said the risk of suicide varied according to a number of factors, including gender, prognosis, the stage of the disease, the type of cancer and the patient’s family situation.
An avid reader brings my attention to this story.
ATLANTA (AP) - A 16-year-old girl counted down her suicide attempt through text messages to a female classmate who had rebuffed her sexual advances before crashing her vehicle into an oncoming car, killing a mother of three and injuring the victim’s 6-year-old daughter, prosecutors said.
“She was actually counting down her imminent threat: ‘Nine, eight, seven, six … I’m going to do it,” said Paul Howard, the Fulton County district attorney.
The girl, Louise Egan Brunstad, was charged Thursday with felony murder for ramming her family’s Mercedes head-on into a smaller Daewoo driven by 30-year-old Nancy Salado-Mayo, who was killed. Prosecutors intend to try her as an adult. If convicted, she faces an automatic life sentence.
Brunstad had told friends she planned to kill herself after another female student at Holy Innocents Episcopal School refused to have sex with her, Howard said.
The teenager, who was treated for an ankle injury, was on crutches in court Thursday for a brief hearing on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.
A guy tops himself on the day he was due to be executed.
The suicide came about 15 hours before Johnson was to receive lethal injection for the 1995 shooting death of her husband Jeff Wetterman, 27, at the family-run convenience store in Lorena, about 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Waco.
McLean had planned to be among those watch Johnson die Thursday evening and found some solace in knowing he knew she’d be present in the death chamber.
“We anticipated the trip for 11 years,” she said. “I didn’t want him to think that we were going to forget about this. It was still a very big deal to us. I was determined to watch him die.
McLean said two prison officials came to her home Thursday to offer an apology.
October 18, 2006
Chris, in the comments of my previous post, draws my attention to an even longer sniper kill, by a Canadian, Rob Furlong in Afghanistan. It’s all on wikipedia. 2430 meters, which beats the previous best from the Vietnam war.
A 3-man al-Qaeda weapons team was moving into a mountainside position when he shot and killed one carrying an RPK machinegun from a distance of 2,430 metres. His first shot had missed entirely, and his second shot had hit the knapsack on the militant’s back.
The shot was fired from a .50-caliber McMillan Brothers TAC-50 rifle.
Furlong left the forces to pursue a career as a police officer.
October 17, 2006
His quarry stood nonchalantly in the fourth-floor bay window of a hospital in battle-torn Ramadi, still clasping a long-barreled Kalashnikov. Instinctively allowing for wind speed and bullet drop, Shadow’s commander aimed 12 feet high.
A single shot hit the Iraqi in the chest and killed him instantly. It had been fired from a range of more than three-quarters of a mile, well beyond the capacity of the powerful Leupold sight, accurate to 3,300 feet.
“I believe it is the longest confirmed kill in Iraq with a 7.62mm rifle,” said Sgt. Gilliland, 28, who hunted squirrels in Double Springs, Ala., from the age of 5 before progressing to deer — and then to insurgents and terrorists.
From the Washington Times. How marvellous to have a vocation.