Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekly Facts Rodeo

1. For the first time in the history of the Gallup poll, a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijauna.  57% of Democrats; 57% of Independents; and 55% of men favor legalization.  People over 65 and Republicans strongly oppose legalization.  Any thoughts?

2. IQ average scores are 30% higher today than in 1910 and 18% higher than in 1950, reported Seth Borenstein of the AP on Sunday.   That means a person who has an average IQ score today would have been rated a genius in 1910.  Reducing hunger among pregnant women and children to insure better brain development, better health care, less smoking and drinking during pregnancy, and less pollution in the air and water explain rising IQ scores.

IQ scores also may be much more variable within a lifetime than previously understood, according to a UK study that found scores rising or falling 10% to 20%, depending on mental stimulation or its absence.

3. In the smart move category, USA will have all troops out of IRAQ, with the exception of an embassy protection unit, by December 31, 2011. Not a day too soon.  Troops killed in action exceed 4,000, and war costs approach one trillion dollars. Starting this war was a disaster, dumb to say the least.

4. Rising intelligence may explain why America spent just $2 billion dollars in Libya to depose Gadaffi, had no troops killed or wounded, and got the job done in less than a year.  We certainly were much smarter about Libya than the IRAQ war that began 8 long years ago.

5. What else does rising intelligence mean?  Does it explain increasing support for legalizing Marijuana? Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard in the Borenstein AP piece did not go there but said rising intelligence in populations is a main reason for declining violence around the world.  Pinker's research shows that battlefield deaths were 500 per 100,000 people before nation's formed; 70 per 100,000 in 19th century France (Napoleon and more); 60 per 100,000 in the 20th century; and just 0.3 per 100,000 currently. 

It's a nice trend. But why am I nervous?  Pass the IQ shaker.

6. The PA economy has slammed into reverse. It has been performing much worse than the national economy since April, 2011 when the state unemployment rate was 7.4%.  PA's unemployment rate jumped 0.9% from April 2011 to September 2011 when it hit 8.3%.  PA lost 15,500 jobs in September.  We need to get out of reverse and use all the tools that were creating lots of jobs in Pennsylvania from January 2010 to April 2011 when PA was a national jobs leader.

7. Professor Muller used Koch Brothers funds to do a deep dive of the earth's temperature records.  He may not be getting any more Koch money. A probably former darling of climate skeptics, Muller who is a physicist from the University of California Berkeley released his results:  The earth has warmed 0.91 degrees celsius. The rate of warming is accelerating and now at a rate of 2.84 degrees celsius for the next century.  Muller's results confirmed all the scientific work on temperatures done by NASA, NOAA, and Britain's Hadley Center that had been regularly attacked by Koch organizations.  These are ugly facts but facts.

1 comment:

  1. I would consider supporting legalization of marijuana if funds currently used for enforcement were reallocated to prevention. Prices would plummet, domestic drug-related violence would decrease, and international drug-related violence (Mexico) would decrease.

    Yes, usage would increase and that would be a problem. Alcohol abuse is a huge problem. But if we focused on education, prevention and rehabilitation with the same vigor we now focus on enforcement, I think the world would be a better place.