Science & Society

Why do so many criminals convicted of misdemeanors then get involved in violent crime?

It turns out that in many cases it's because they weren't misdemeanors at all, they were felony crimes that were reduced during plea bargaining. And that policy, according to an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, leads to more violent crimes that could be prevented.

The small, preliminary study re-analyzed data on 787 individuals under age 35 who had violent misdemeanor convictions and purchased handguns in California in 1989 or 1990. The goal was to assess the impact of reduced criminal charges on gun purchases and subsequent crime. 


Advocates for open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens often claim that they are doing jobs legal residents won't. That isn't really true, they just do some jobs for less, because their illegal status makes them unable to compete.

The most dangerous jobs actually pay quite well - and they don't hire people who are not allowed to be in America legally. But jobs that are hazardous and can be done without concern for legal status can be done by illegal aliens - it just doesn't pay well.


Can you imagine how difficult it is to juggle peer review for 10,000 published studies per year? That's 40 every single working day, without the time it took to look at the ones that got rejected.

In the past, we have seen how much it would cost to replace a housewife and how much it cost to raise a child.

What about a child with special needs?  A recent literature review of U.S. and U.K. studies on patients with autism spectrum disorders and their families in 2013 came up with the economic impact. 

Autism used to be rather specific but the modern range of autism spectrum disorders is really broad, so Ariane V.S. Buescher, M.Sc., of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and colleagues separate those with intellectual disabilities and those with just behavioral issues.

It's not surprising that in a trial, mothers participating in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) who received subsidized vouchers for fruits and vegetables at area farmers markets used them - and chose fruits or vegetables more often then they would at supermarkets. 

But prices at local supermarkets are lower, notes a new University of Illinois study, so the question becomes how much should taxpayers spend in hopes that families will eat more vegetables, if they don't buy them at supermarkets. Should we mandate their behavior by giving them vouchers for farmer's markets rather than grocery stores?
An analysis of the scientific production of more than 80 countries from 1996 to 2006 found that there are three major ‘clusters’ of countries, defined by the thematic areas they investigate and that their governments invest in most.

Using this data, researchers from the University of Granada and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), belonging to the SCImago research group have designed the most comprehensive 'world map of research' to date. Using statistical techniques and multivariate analysis, they included over 15 million documents and scientific articles.
Liberal critics have always panned 1965's "The Sound of Music" as conservative and schmaltzy, a throwback to the 1950s during a decade that claimed to be about revolution and progress.

Yet the public loves it. 

London academic Martin Gorsky has an explanation that critics seem to have missed: the film actually ‘helped constitute’ an understanding of society.

Gorsky explains that the film’s treatment of two contemporary issues - the importance of play and emotion in childrearing, and post-war perspectives of Fascism – were fundamental to the widespread popularity of the film.

Starting in July of 2012, smart people called the election of November for President Barack Obama, barring some nasty "October Surprise." Instead, the October Surprise was for the challenger, Mitt Romney. A hurricane hit the eastern coast of the US and by the time it reached the American media center of New York City, it was no longer a hurricane so they created a new category, a "superstorm" and proceeded to blame it on global warming.


In a letter to the Annals of Internal Medicine, a group of nutritionists object to all of the studies finding supplements are well-marketed but unnecessary costs for most Americans.  

Their rebuttal: they don't harm anyone, they are relatively cheap and science can't prove they don't work. 

Hardly a great endorsement, but the nutritionists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and three other institutions can't really argue for the benefits of supplements, so they instead argue that the case is not 'closed', as an editorial in the same publication last year argued.