« December 2012 | Main | February 2013 »

January 2013

"Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?"

Oh, my: vegans find out they are harming animals: poor Peruvian quinoa consumers. Link via Wally T.'s daughter, Abby.

I would say that this is yet another example of Newmark's First Law, but Wally points out that Peruvian quinoa growers are better off and some of them are poor. (And see this Slate article which hastens to reassure the guilt-stricken enviros.)

So, I'll just say that if you are a Liberal--I assume most vegans are; I apologize to any coonservative vegans out there--and your worldview deemphasizes or even ignores tradeoffs, you are going to be frequently suprised and bitterly disappointed. Your worldview deceives you.

And right on cue here's a similar problem for Liberals: "Fuel Efficiency Is Bad News For State Governments".

A few words on gun control

From my graduate school classmate, John Lott:

Ms. Feinstein's new proposal also calls for gun registration, and the reasoning is straightforward: If a gun has been left at a crime scene and it was registered to the person who committed the crime, the registry will link the crime gun back to the criminal.

Nice logic, but in reality it hardly ever works that way. Guns are very rarely left behind at a crime scene. When they are, they're usually stolen or unregistered. Criminals are not stupid enough to leave behind guns that are registered to them. Even in the few cases where registered guns are left at crime scenes, it is usually because the criminal has been seriously injured or killed, so these crimes would have been solved even without registration.

Canada recently got rid of its costly "long-gun" registry for rifles in part because the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Chiefs of Police could not provide a single example in which tracing was of more than peripheral importance in solving a gun murder.

From "Gun Control's Potemkim Village":

The agenda includes mostly measures that will have little or no effect on the problems they are supposed to address. They are Potemkin remedies—presentable facades with empty space behind them.

"Does Feinstein Think All Guns Not Specifically Permitted Are Prohibited?"

The "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013," a summary of which Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) unveiled yesterday, features several glaring contradictions.

From "Questions for Gun Controllers":

What’s the functional difference between an assault weapon and a semiautomatic rifle? You do understand that the answer is “nothing”? An assault weapon is not an automatic weapon. It is semiautomatic like most guns now sold in the United States, i.e., it fires every time the trigger is pulled. What sets it apart is its scary-looking features.

From "Do Gun Control Laws Control Guns?"

Virtually all gun-control advocates say that 30 bullets in a magazine is far too many for self-defense or hunting — even if they have never gone hunting and never had to defend themselves with a gun. This uninformed and self-righteous dogmatism is what makes the gun-control debate so futile and so polarizing.

Anyone who faces three home invaders, jeopardizing himself or his family, might find 30 bullets barely adequate. After all, not every bullet hits, even at close range, and not every hit incapacitates. You can get killed by a wounded man.

These plain life-and-death realities have been ignored for years by people who go ballistic when they hear about how many shots were fired by the police in some encounter with a criminal. As someone who once taught pistol shooting in the Marine Corps, I am not the least bit surprised by the number of shots fired. I have seen people miss a stationary target at close range, even in the safety and calm of a pistol range.

See also "‘Gun Control Fails,’ Say Statistics from . . .  Gun-Control Advocates," "6 Ways Criminals Are Going To Thwart Gun Control Laws," "Scary, Scary Guns," and finally, "Gun Control Debate May Be Driving Higher Sales".


"Mobile Phones and Crime Deterrence: An Underappreciated Link"

By Jonathan Klick, John McDonald, and Thomas Stratmann:

Between 1991 and 2001, crime rates dropped by about a third across all crime categories. We suggest that the introduction and growth of mobile phone technology may have contributed to the crime decline in the 1990s, specifically in the areas of rape and assault. Given that mobile phones increase surveillance and the risks of apprehension when committing crimes against strangers, an expansion of this technology would increase the costs of crime as perceived by forward-looking criminals. We use the available mobile phone data to show that there is a strongly negative association between mobile phones and violent crimes, although data limitations preclude us from being able to make any claims about causality. We show how the intuition about mobile phones providing crime deterrence fits in well with modern discussions in the crime literature regarding optimal policy and the expanding use of private security precautions in crime prevention.