Thursday, December 01, 2005

Odds & Ends

Auntie Suzanne has been brought low by her own traitorous body--first by a cold last week, and then by her sinuses' insistence on giving her a headache every day this week--but she has managed to see a few interesting things online.

Popular Science is riding through town tellings us, "Colored bubbles are coming, colored bubbles are coming!" Actually they just have an interesting article up about one man's quest to create colored bubbles. With eleven years, a fair amount of funding, and the services of a dye chemist, that one man succeeded, and we should have non-staining, colored bubbles on the market no later than February. Because the creation of the bubbles involved creating an entirely new class of dyes, there's potential for a lot of other new products, such as temporary wall paint colors or toothpaste that will stain kids teeth until it's time for them to stop brushing.

They also have a list of the 10 worst jobs in science up that is kind of fun to skim through, but I don't think any of the jobs on that list are worse than working retail during the Christmas season.

Uncle Pookie and I read Freakonomics a few weeks ago, and although the book was entertaining reading, I didn't buy the legalized abortion caused the drop in American crime theory. It was not that I had a problem with saying legal abortion might have some good side effects, but that I didn't buy it as the cause. I believe the drop in crime is due primarily to the fact that we have a smaller percentage of young people in our society now; any time there is a larger percentage of young people in a society, there is more crime, because young people--especially young men--are much more likely to commit or be involved in crimes than older people. (FWIW, they are also more likely to be the victims of crimes, largely because of their tendency to hang out with other young people.) I saw no problem with saying legalized abortion may have contributed to the reduction in crime rate, because anything that results in fewer teenagers and young adults in the population reduces crime; I just figured the birth control pill contributed at least as much as abortion did, and that the change in attitudes that made us want fewer children and want them later in life when it's harder to make them was the biggest contributor of all.

Not being a social scientist, I didn't--and don't--have any data to back my opinion up, but according to Steve Sailer there is evidence that the Freakonomics abortion-cuts-crime argument is seriously flawed. (Link via The Corner.) I'm not going to try to summarize his summary of the problem, but it's worth a skim, because with the popularity of the book, we're likely to hear this argument a lot.

And just for fun, Foamy's Christmas Rant is back up. This was my introduction to Foamy, and I still find it really funny. Be warned, it is definitely NOT work-safe or children-in-the-room-safe.

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