1. A blitz chess game. I had black against a german player, Gerhard Richter. According to FIDE, there’s a guy with that name who has an ELO rating of 1949. I assume that was the guy I played against though I can’t know for certain – he had a quite high ‘slow rating’ so it was a strong player either way. In the game he drops a pawn at one point and I basically just run him over (though he does have some counterplay) after that – very satisfying to get a win like that against a strong opponent.

2. Will we ever restore sight to the blind?

It’s interesting how far medical science has advanced in some areas – to some degree we do ‘live in the future’, so to speak. I thought it was a bit funny that Ed would post this on the same day that I had a scheduled follow-up related to the medical trial in which I’m participating – I spent two hours today having my eyes looked at and measured in all kinds of ways.

3. U.S. Homicide Trends. The data are not completely up to date, but 2005 isn’t that long ago. Did you know that roughly 8 out of 9 (88,8%) of all homicides are committed by males? Or that males are almost 4 times more likely to get murdered? Here are some more data:

Females are much more likely to be killed by an intimate or a family member. If all else were equal (it’s not, but it’s probably worth pondering whether this changes the conclusion..), a female would be able to reduce her risk of getting killed significantly just by staying single instead of getting intimately involved with someone. Note that whereas something like one third of all female murder victims get killed by an intimate, the corresponding male number is just 3% (here’s another link adding more detail) – in terms of optimal strategies for lowering risk, the two genders should focus on different variables here. When dealing with the murders of females at the age of 25-50, approximately 40% of them are committed by an intimate (see previous link).

3a. I remember reading a study at one point (via MR?) where they looked at murder rates using BAC as an explanatory variable. I tried looking around in the archives but it seems that I did not blog it back then – I thought I had. Anyway, I’m not sure this study was the one I was thinking about but it covers the same subject and it was what popped up when doing a quick google – Alcohol, drugs and murder: A study of convicted homicide offenders. Abstract:

“Data on 1,887 convicted homicide offenders were examined to discern the relationships between alcohol and/or drug use and murder. Information obtained through confidential interviews at state prisons and local jails provided demographics and information on drinking and drug use immediately before the crime and relevant data on the offenders’ typical drinking style. About 50 percent of the offenders were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crime, similar to the rate found by other studies. Substance use was more prevalent than nonuse before the homicide: 36 percent used alcohol only, 13 percent used both alcohol and drugs, 7 percent used drugs only, and 43 percent did not use either. A heavier style of drinking is much more prevalent among homicide offenders than in the general population. Blacks showed the least involvement with alcohol before homicide. A direct role for alcohol is indicated by the finding that homicides were associated with a heavier than usual episode of drinking and the large mean alcohol consumption contiguous to the crime (9.3 ounces of alcohol or about 18 drinks). Evidence also indicates that a unique relationship existed between drug use and homicide.”

A majority of people who commit murder, at least in the US, do so under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


March 12, 2012 - Posted by | alcohol, Chess, Data, Demographics, Medicine


  1. The stay-single-strategy comes with a great cost: no children. I wonder whether the right strategy wouldn’t rather be like the macaques, where society forms around the female bonding – both the mother-daughter-relationship but also non-related female bonding and outright lesbianism. Men join in the societies and mate with females, but also vagabond between societes, female are core members. The macaque monkey is violent, but the females defend eachother against violence. I am speculating now, but that might be a suitable strategy for enabling the females to match the physically stronger males. Other primates, like the gelada, even have female societies, where the mother-daughter-tribe only allow one male suitor to live with thm, so they can mate him.

    Comment by info | March 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Oh, while writing I forgot where I wanted it to lead to: Also the humans seem to make females much more interested in bonding with each other, making them a group, than men are, who instead are fighting to become dominant individuals. I’m taking for granted that thats no coincidence. The tribe, the clan, the family is the female construction, that protects her from being in the sole ownership of a single man, which would put her life at the will of that man. Civilization is the manly construction, that potentially destroys the bond of lineage and tribe, and makes the woman subject to marriage or slavery and at the disposal of the dominant man.

      Comment by info | March 12, 2012 | Reply

  2. My contention would be that at this point in time, the impact on the choice set of whether or not to have children, and how many to have, is but a small part of the subjective cost of staying single. It varies with age, but in general terms it’s not all that important. In modern societies many, both males and females, in the fertile age range would consider the social aspects/companionship aspect much more important. The age of first birth is around 30 but statistically far most individuals below the age of 30 will be romantically involved with someone else for at least part of the year, and quite often they will have had several sexual partners with which they never intended to have children. Many people in committed relationships never have children, for one reason or another, but stay together anyway. Also, it’s quite easy for a female to get pregnant and have a child without finding a suitable long-term partner; in places like Denmark, it’s not even that hard to raise the child on your own, given extant policies (which are very generous towards single moms). The way I see it, the social aspects of partnerships are far more important than is the recreational aspect for most individuals today. People don’t like to feel alone, and given extant cultural mores unless you find a compatible mate to be with it takes a lot of work to avoid. That plus ‘biology’.

    I don’t agree with your second comment, but I don’t want to argue the point.

    Comment by US | March 15, 2012 | Reply

  3. (beklager hvis denne kommer flere gange, men jeg har problemer med at få lov at aflevere)

    I believe that while you are factually correct on most counts, you are really far off. The dream of creating a ‘love child’ is buried so deep in our instincts that it is imposible to write of with statistics and social policy. The human brain – and the female in particular – are designed to evaluate the smells, the traits, the symmetry of all possible partners in a search for desirable chromosomes to mix with your own. The sexual partners are a journey towards the perfect partner that shall father your children. Of course it is also great fun and a defense against solitude – but it is so because evolution favored those traits because they worked towards reproduction.

    The possibilities of getting pregnant without a stable partner is a lot less desirable. The women geting donor sperm have to accept the fact, that she didnt find that perfect partner throughout her sexual endeavors or could’t hold on to him, which is why almost no one chooses this way until last resort. Getting pregnant with a partner you don’t know but just have sex with once is also less desirable because you have’t had the proper time to evaluate the partner as possible genes.

    Of course the technology and possibilites change the way woman NEED men in this proces, but mostly in the way that women can choose to be more picky – they can sort out the worst men, because if all else fails they no longer needs their sperm. They can at least get clinically screened sperm instead. But being more picky only enhance the importance of the sexual journey through partners towards finding the perfect partner making a child concieved in love (which is the way your emotions express the instincts evolution imprinted in you).

    Staying single and not working towards the ‘goal’ is for far most of people a huge cost to bear, regardless of technological opportunitues making a second chance necessary.

    Comment by info2 | March 16, 2012 | Reply

    • “jeg har problemer med at få lov at aflevere” – er det et nyt problem? (har andre oplevet tilsvarende problemer?)

      Jeg spørger fordi der intet er fra dig i spam-folderen – der er ingen indikationer på administrationssiderne på, at noget er galt, og så er det vanskeligt at vide, om den slags er sket før. Jeg finder det frustrerende, at du har været nødt til at skifte navn – det er også irriterende for mig, fordi kommentarsystemet bare skal køre glat og smertefrit, og det troede jeg det gjorde.

      Vender tilbage til anden ‘halvdel’ senere.

      Comment by US | March 17, 2012 | Reply

  4. Det er ikke et issue for mig, men siden du spørger…

    Jeg havde også problemer med at få lov at aflevere min seneste kommentar. Den insisterede på at jeg loggede på med enten wordpress, twitter eller facebook, før jeg fik lov at poste.

    Comment by WilliamJansen (@WilliamJansen) | March 17, 2012 | Reply

  5. Ja, det samme her. Den mailadresse jeg bruger, er åbenbart knyttet til n wordpress-konto jeg har haft engang, men som jeg ikke længere kan huske ‘hvor’ er. Nu kræver systemet, at jeg logger ind på den wp-konto før jeg må skrive. Det er helt nyt. Da jeg fandt en gammel hotmail-adresse frerm, var der ikke noget problem længere.

    Comment by info2 | March 17, 2012 | Reply

  6. Jeg har været inde på administrationssiden for diskussions-settings m.v., og så vidt jeg kan se – jeg er mildt sagt ikke derinde ret ofte – er alt ‘som det plejer’. WordPress stiller forskellige muligheder til rådighed for en blog-administrator når det kommer til at stille krav til kommentarer og dem, der afgiver dem – på nuværende tidspunkt (og sådan har det altid været) er der et kryds i feltet: ‘Comment author must fill out name and e-mail’, men ingen krydser i feltet: ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment’.

    Det lyder især på William’s kommentar som om wordpress på nuværende tidspunkt håndhæver en fra min side aldeles uønsket kommentar-politik; en kommentarpolitik jeg bevidst har fravalgt.

    Comment by US | March 17, 2012 | Reply

  7. As I have done before, I’d like to gently remind you to always think “minorities” when looking at sociological trends in the US 🙂

    I’ll just leave this here.

    Money quote #1: “The racial composition of the US population as of 2008 was 79.79% European American (65.60% non-Hispanic and 14.19% Hispanic), 12.84% African American (12.22% non-Hispanic and 0.62% Hispanic), 4.45% Asian American (4.35% non-Hispanic and 0.10% Hispanic), 1.01% American Indian or Alaska Native (0.76% non-Hispanic and 0.25% Hispanic), 0.18% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander American (0.14% non-Hispanic and 0.04% Hispanic), and 1.69% Multiracial American (1.64% non-Hispanic and 0.05% Hispanic). 15.25% of the total US population identified their ethnicity as Hispanic.” (Emphasis mine)

    Money quote #2: “A United States Department of Justice report which surveyed homicide statistics between 1974 and 2004 stated that of the crimes surveyed, 52.2% of the offenders were Black, 45.8% were White, and 2% were Other Races.” (Emphasis mine)

    I have also read (no link, quoting from memory) that blacks are 13% of the US population, but account for 43% of murder victims, 93% of whom are murdered by other blacks. I will not go into the reasons for this, other than to mention the “no snitching culture”, exemplified by the meme “Snitches get stitches”.

    Makes you wonder whether it sucks worse to be a black male or a black female in the US.

    Comment by Plamus | March 21, 2012 | Reply

    • I knew about the racial component (though not that it was that pronounced), but I was frankly surprised by the numbers I posted in the original. I mean, almost a third of all female murder victims are killed by a partner or an ex-partner – “males are dangerous!” ~ of course there’s the relative risk vs absolute risk issue, but still…

      But thanks for data and link.

      Comment by US | March 25, 2012 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: