Leaded Gasoline Linked to the Rise and Fall of Violent Crime

science, society

For years the rate of violent crime has fallen in the United States. It’s good news, but experts have never been able to explain why crime rates spiked in the 1980s and 1990s but then dramatically dropped in the 2000s. Theories ranging from improved police techniques to the “crack epidemic” to the legalization of abortion have all been proposed by researchers, but none seem to quite fit the facts.

Now, researchers say they may have found the perfect scapegoat for violent crime: leaded gasoline.

If this is more than a simple statistical coincidence (the same kind that “links” the number of post offices with the number of alcoholics in a city for example), I can’t help but wonder what else will be uncovered.

Read more at http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/13789/20130107/leaded-gasoline-linked-rise-fall-violent-crime.htm#VUR4M3GO6hMbhIbO.99 

Cellphone tracking can be beautiful, fascinating and scary at the same time

society, tech

This gorgeous data viz represents the movements of population in Geneva, Switzerland tracked by the cellphone connections to the cell towers. It’s beautiful, fascinating and scary at the same time.

Switzerland had more cell phones than people, around 10 million. During one day Swisscom subscribers in Geneva generate approximately 15 million connections from 2 million phone calls. As most of us know, carrying your phone around without making any calls still leaves a digital record as we get handed off from cell tower to cell tower.

I’ll leave it to you to rate the beauty of the visualization and what it represents, I do however think this is a fantastic urban planning tool. It’s just scary how our every movement is tracked so accurately. I lived in Geneva for over 10 years and can perfectly picture myself going through town from the traces represented there. You could map the coordinates to Google Earth and recreate an entire population’s’ whereabouts.

“Ville Vivante” means “living city” in French, which describes pretty well what this work represents.

via ReadWriteWeb: A Pretty Data Viz From Geneva Switzerland

Image Tool Catches Fashion Industry Photo Alterations


Image Tool Catches Fashion Industry Photo Alterations

Given the social consequences of all this unnatural retouching and as the father of a girl, I can only agree with this proposal to have a mandatory “photoshop rating” added to the photos. Some researchers have come up with a nifty image analyzer that can show the level of alteration of any given picture. Cool stuff.

A new photograph-analyzing tool quantifies changes made by digital airbrushers in the fashion and lifestyle industry, where image alteration has become the psychologically destructive norm.

“Publishers have legitimate reasons to alter photographs to create fantasy and sell products, but they’ve gone a little too far,” said image forensics specialist Hany Farid of Dartmouth University. “You can’t ignore the body of literature showing negative consequences to being inundated with these images.”

via Image Tool Catches Fashion Industry Photo Alterations | Wired Science | Wired.com.