Quick links from around the web and blogosphere:
Mind Hacks (12 July) discusses recent commentary by Bruce Schneier on why terrorism fails, who in turn is commenting on a paper [pdf] by Max Abrahms (abstract over at the Terrorism Blog)
Also thanks to Mind Hacks, a pointer to an article in the Journal of Forensic Sciences outlining the case histories of two serial killers, which, the authors say “illustrate the wide spectrum of variations in the backgrounds, demographics, motivations, and actions witnessed among serial murderers, and highlight the limitations and dangers of profiling based on generalities”.
Wray Herbert on the Association of Psychological Science blog We’re Only Human (10 July) explores the links between alcohol and aggression, the subject of an article in the latest issue of Psychological Science. Herbert concludes:
It appears that alcohol has the potential to both increase and decrease aggression, depending on where’s one’s attention is focused.
The Situationist (10 July) discuss what happens When Thieves See Situation: apparently con artists are exploiting information collected via the market research of major corporations, using it to target elderly victims:
Publicly held companies… compile and sell lists of consumers. Con artists purchase the lists from the companies’ websites, then pose as telemarketers in order to obtain senior citizens’ bank account numbers. Finally, the thieves use unsigned checks to steal money from the accounts.
What caused the drop in crime in the late 1990s? Stephen Levitt on the Freakonomics Blog, Johan Lehrer at The Frontal Cortex, and Steve Sailer on iSteve evaluate a theory put forward by Rick Nevin, an economist, as described in a recent Washington Post article (8 July):
The theory offered … is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children’s exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.
Providentia (15 July) ponders the phenomenon of copycat suicides in When Dying Becomes Fashionable.
Carnival Against Sexual Violence 27 (15 July) is up over at Abyss2Hope
Update on a previous story: Anne Reed at the Deliberations jury blog carefully takes apart Bruce Spencer’s “juries get it wrong” study (pdf) to examine whether the conclusions are warranted, and lawyer Mark Bennett adds some further explanation.
Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License