Links for the Week of January 7th, 2019


Majority of Baltimore homicide victims in 2018 were shot in the head, analysis shows
There were 175 victims with fatal head wounds last year, which accounted for 57 percent of all homicides. In 2017, 45 percent of the city’s 342 homicides involved head wounds; in 2016, 47 percent of the city’s 318 homicides did.

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Cigarette butts are the single greatest source of ocean trash | NBC News
The Ocean Conservancy has sponsored a beach cleanup every year since 1986. For 32 consecutive years, cigarette butts have been the single most collected item on the world’s beaches, with a total of more than 60 million collected over that time. That amounts to about one-third of all collected items and more than plastic wrappers, containers, bottle caps, eating utensils and bottles, combined.

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The dark side of decision-making in groups: Nastiness to outsiders
This hypothesis implies that groups do not cooperate less because they are self-regarding, but because they are more inclined to cause harm to outsiders – even at a cost to themselves. We define anti-social behaviour as non-strategic destructive behaviour that is costly for the decision maker, reduces welfare of others, and is not a response to inequality or a hostile behaviour of a counterpart. Experiments in previous research, including the Prisoners’ Dilemma game, Trust game, and Dictator game, were designed to measure the positive side of human social behaviour.

Figure 1 Slovakia: The effect of group decision-making on choices in the joy of destruction game and the prisoners’ dilemma game 

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How Americans and Western Europeans compare on 4 key social and political issues | Pew
Western Europeans and Americans share a similar level of skepticism about elected officials. In six of the eight Western European countries surveyed, half or more said elected officials don’t care what people like them think. Similarly, three-quarters of Americans said in a January-February 2018 survey that they had little or no confidence in elected officials to act in the best interests of the public. That said, Americans and Western Europeans were more mixed about whether ordinary citizens would do a better job solving the country’s problems than elected officials: A median of 44% of Western Europeans said citizens would do a better job, as did 44% of Americans in a separate March 2018 survey.

Many in U.S. and Western Europe are frustrated with elected officials, but fewer say ordinary people would do better

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Newsroom employees are more likely to be white and male than all U.S. workers | Pew

Newsroom employees are more likely to be white and male than all U.S. workers

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How economic theory and the Netflix Prize could make research funding more efficient
Under a partial lottery system, funds are awarded by random draw among a pool of high-ranking grants — the top 40 percent, for example. Since applicants would be aiming to clear a lower bar for a smaller prize — a shot at the lottery instead of a guaranteed payout for winning proposals — the contest theory model predicts that applicants would spend less time trying to perfect their applications, Bergstrom said.

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Fixing photosynthesis by engineering it to recycle a toxic mistake | Ars Technica
Unfortunately, RuBisCO is, well, terrible at its job. It might not be obvious based on the plant growth around us, but the enzyme is not especially efficient at catalyzing the carbon dioxide reaction. And, worse still, it often uses oxygen instead. This produces a useless byproduct that, if allowed to build up, will eventually shut down photosynthesis entirely. It’s estimated that crops such as wheat and rice lose anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of their growth potential due to this byproduct.

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Low-dose radiation from A-bombs elongated lifespan and reduced cancer mortality relative to un-irradiated individuals
When LSS data of longevity are examined, a clear J-shaped dose-response, a hallmark of radiation hormesis, is apparent. Both A-bomb survivors and NIC showed longer than average lifespans. Average solid cancer death ratios of both A-bomb survivors and NIC were lower than the average for Japanese people, which is consistent with the occurrence of radiation adaptive responses (the bases for radiation hormesis), essentially invalidating the LNT model.

Fig. 5

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On the causal powers of Mormonism | Nintil

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How Colleges Make More Money Than God By Giving It Away

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Record Numbers of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.

  • 40% of women younger than 30 would like to leave the U.S.
  • 22% who disapprove of Trump would like to move vs. 7% who approve
  • Canada is top desired destination for would-be migrant Americans

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Voltaire’s Luck

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