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January 4, 2013
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Inwhich an Objectivist Advocates Spending $200b on a Social Problem...

:iconunvalanced:
Unvalanced Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
[link]

Short summation: There is really strong evidence that low to medium level lead poisoning is one of the leading causes of crime; lead emissions correlate with a 20-year lead on crime. The correlation holds on a national level - the same patterns are present in Australia, the UK, the US, and every other nation thus examined, to such extents that is almost a statistical anomaly how -well- it fits. It holds on a state level - the more emissions in a state, the higher the crime. It holds on a county level. It even holds, albeit much more weakly, on a neighborhood level.

It would cost ~$200b to clean up the lead in most of the country, including tearing down and replacing houses, and cleaning up lead deposits in soil throughout the country.

And I'd suggest, given the evidence, it's worth doing.

Now, if anybody has any evidence to the contrary, I would love to see it. I can't find any.
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Devious Comments

:icongussiejives:
gussiejives Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Based on Kevin Drum's article on the subject, I concur.
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:iconty-calibre:
Ty-Calibre Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
All I'm gonna say is, a 95% correlation was found between the quantity of iron ingots shipped from Pittsburgh to Chicago and the number of registered prostitutes in Buenos Aires.

[link]
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:iconunvalanced:
Unvalanced Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That has a very official-sounding name in statistics: "Going fishing."

The rule, in statistics, as in science, is you start with a hypothesis, and you test that specific hypothesis. If you feed a system endless amounts of data, it will find a correlation somewhere. That 95% correlation means there's a 95% chance of that correlation being valid; if you've tested for more than 20 correlations, you have around even odds of having found one.

See [link]

However, in this case the scientists have done their homework; they ran their tests, and then sought out other data sets to examine as well. Rick Nevin, one of the statisticians doing the research, has run the data on nine countries, and found strong correlations. Jessica Reyes, another statistician, ran the data on different states, comparing states on the basis of leaded gasoline phase-outs (different states followed different schedules on eliminating leaded gasoline); it tracked exceptionally well. There have been hundreds of citations and follow-ups on their work, and only one study out of all of them contradicted the findings. (And, for what it's worth, that study was funded by the largest lead fuel additive company, and engages in a lot of statistical hijinx, some of which are mentioned elsewhere in this thread.)

Moreover, studies performed have shown demonstrably higher blood levels in criminals than in the general population. The link between lead and aggressive behavior has long been known, as well as its effect on intelligence. Neurologist David Bellinger is one of hundreds of individuals who has published studies on the subject.

Unfortunately, virtually all of these studies are behind paywalls, so unless you have access to a university library I can't give them to you to examine yourself.
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:iconty-calibre:
Ty-Calibre Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That is unfortunate.

What's the correlation like between lead phase out internationally?
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:iconty-calibre:
Ty-Calibre Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm skeptical.
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:iconunvalanced:
Unvalanced Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Of the nine countries Nevin studied, the same; the variable tracked for 60-90% of crimes given a 23-year lead time. (That's the error bar, I believe, meaning lead was predictive of somewhere between 60-90% of the crime, which is a fancy way of saying that 10-40% of the crime rate either had nothing to do with lead or the signal was too weak to identify.)
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:iconkitsumekat:
kitsumekat Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
I would prefer to clean up the lead though.
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:iconno-doves-fly-here:
no-doves-fly-here Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
While everyone else wants to bitch and gripe over whether or not such contamination really does yield higher crime rates and lower IQ's, I am simply relieved to see conservatives looking for alternative methods of solving crime that do not involve being a police statocracy.
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:iconunvalanced:
Unvalanced Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
If you're referring to me, I'm not really conservative. I'm middle-libertarian; I could be convinced on things like the death penalty (which I'm weakly for, at the moment, although I'd prefer a substantially stronger burden of evidence), favor a middle ground on intellectual property (down with software patents, for one!), and favor certain kinds of redistribution (I believe the government should be limited to taxing land (and land only, not the improvements placed upon it), and don't believe in the current welfare state, but do believe excess funds from aforementioned property taxation should be distributed evenly across the population). I also tend to be for certain kinds of regulation (of the "do no harm" variety, not the "in society's interests" variety), but regard these as -usually- being better served by tort law.
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:iconno-doves-fly-here:
no-doves-fly-here Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
Oh, actually I was referring to the objectivist mentioned in the title of this thread.

Issues such as capital punishment are matters of a libertarian-authoritarian scale (specifically civil libertarianism), rather than a left-right scale. However being opposed to patent restrictions may put you closer to the individualist/general market-libertarian spectrum of things, rather than the libertarian-capitalist spectrum. So perhaps center-right? To be honest what you advocate sounds strongly reminiscent of Geonomics. Regardless I would most certainly not consider you a 'middle-libertarian' based on our past discussions. Centrists on the libertarian scale are mutualists, syndicalists and the like who advocate a blend free market economies with common ownership of the means of production and co-operative living.

When you say, "of the 'do no harm' variety", I assume you mean actions which violate natural law; the right to be free from the threat of murder, rape, assault, libel and fraud?
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