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August 30, 2012

Study: Black Defendants Are At Least 30% More Likely To Be Imprisoned Than White Defendants For The Same Crime

Study: Black Defendants Are At Least 30% More Likely To Be Imprisoned Than White Defendants For The Same Crime | ThinkProgress
Economists and law professors at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania have published a new study that confirms what reformers have been saying for decades: the criminal justice system is racially biased. The study is a huge step toward unveiling and ending the racial disparities that still persist in the United States. Those of us seeking to end mass incarceration know it is the New Jim Crow. With more black men under the control of corrections departments than were enslaved on the eve of the Civil War, mass incarceration is the biggest civil rights issue of our time. We’ve presented data pleading for reform to remove the chokehold of poverty-to-prison from our communities: people of color make up 30 percent of the United States’ population, but account for 60 percent of those in prison; black defendants receive longer prison sentence than white defendants; black Americans are far more likely to be arrested than white people. The statistics go on. But many lawmakers, skeptics, and those who just don’t get it (or don’t want to) argue that these disparities occur because white people are inherently somehow more law abiding than people of color, or that white people commit less serious crimes. The underlying premise is that since the law doesn’t mention race, the justice system isn’t racially discriminatory. Think again. This seminal study has now “demonstrated conclusively for the first time that racial bias affects judicial sentencing decisions.” The researchers used a rigorous statistical method that not only controlled for other variables but also controlled for “unobservables” (that may correlate with race), and conducted the study on a statistically significant sample size in Cook County, Illinois. . . .

The Creationist Museum responds to Bill Nye's claim that teaching intelligent design is child abuse

Frustrating stupidity on parade. For bonus fun, look for the video of Dawkins having lunch with the woman in this video at her Creationist Museum. The Creation Museum responds to Bill Nye on teaching evolution to children

Rosacea is likely caused by mites crapping in your pores

Rosacea could be caused by mites unleashing feces inside your pores
Holy crap. File this away under things you desperately wish you could un-know: lurking in your pores right now are tiny bugs, closely related to spiders, that live off your facial oils. Usually, these bugs are harmless, but harbor too many of them and their tendency to die and decompose while they're inside you becomes a little problematic. In fact, according to National University of Ireland researcher Kevin Kavanagh, the bugs may be responsible for rosacea, a chronic skin disease estimated to effect between 5 and 20 percent of the world's population.

August 28, 2012

Study finds strong corelation between pot smoking and reduced IQ

The commenters are not happy about this. Bad news, everyone: smoking too much pot as a teen could permanently lower your IQ
One of the most thorough studies of its kind has concluded that smoking too much reefer as a teenager is linked to significant cognitive decline. More frightening still: the effects could be permanent. Here's everything you need to know about the study's findings. Here's the gist: The study followed 1,037 New Zealanders from birth through age 38, monitoring their IQs and marijuana usage throughout. IQ tests were administered first at age 13 (before the test subjects had started smoking pot), and again at 38, "after a a pattern of persistent cannabis use had developed." The findings reveal that test subjects who smoked heavily throughout adolescence suffered an average drop of eight points in their IQ scores. According to Madeline H. Meier, first author of the study, this impairment was most prevalent among adolescent-onset cannabis users: Adolescent onset users, who diagnosed with cannabis dependence before age 18, tended to become more persistent users, but... after equating adolescent- and adult-onset cannabis users on total number of cannabis-dependence diagnoses, adolescent-onset users showed greater IQ decline than adult-onset cannabis users. In fact, adult-onset cannabis users did not appear to experience IQ decline as a function of persistent cannabis use.