Tuesday, May 25, 2010

4.2 million children saved

In another sign the world is not degenerating into chaos, child mortality rates have been dropping dramatically over the past twenty years:

SOME 7.7m children under the age of five will die in 2010, down from 11.9m in 1990, according to a new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
This is even more impressive in percentages since the population is larger today than it was then. South America and Asia are leading this trend, although most countries is Africa have at least improved a little bit.

Following people with cameras

I am a sucker for big studies trying to answer big questions while using straight forward methods. I ran into a particularly good one recently in the New York Times. Some social scientists spent about $9 million dollars following around 32 families with cameras trying to video tape almost everything they did for a week.

They then spent years recording every little detail from all of this video footage. This allows them to make statements like:

Outside the homes, the yards were open and green — but “no one was out there,” said Jeanne E. Arnold, a U.C.L.A. archaeologist who worked on the study. One family had a 17,000-square-foot yard, with a pool and a trampoline, and not even the children ventured out there during the study.


The couples who reported the least stress tended to have rigid divisions of labor, whether equal or not. “She does the inside work, and I do all the outside, and we don’t interfere” with each other, said one husband.
As I think about it, yards really don't seem all that important if you don't plan on throwing a lot of big parties or do a lot of gardening. I probably have spent as much time in neighborhood fields, and parks as I have in the yard.

Safer still

In between all the articles about some sensational crime, came the report. Once again crime rates have fallen. Murder rates fell by 7%, and property crimes fell by 5%. In southern California the drops are even steeper, closer to 10%.

It really is shocking to me how few politicians have tried to take credit for this. Rather than taking credit for a stunning decrease in crime rates over the past fifteen years, they would rather try to scare the voters about some subject or another.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Right age

As another reason for my greatness, I would like to add that I am the ideal age:

This graph was made entirely for people with profiles on okcupid, but I have another nine years before I am less desirable than a twenty year old!

The graph for girls is likely to be a bit skewed. Guys spend a significant fraction of time chasing after girls younger than they say they are interested in:

Monday, May 10, 2010


I got a home internet connection for the first time in 8 months.

The amount of sleep I get has been reduced by an hour a night, and until 20 minutes ago my apartment was the most messy it had ever been...