Monday, January 05, 2015

Short posts 1/5/2015: On Funny Economic Theories, Old And Forgotten Rape Kits And Some Art And Literature

1.  Now this is the funniest quote in 2015:

LAUER: We talk about this a lot, we have in the past, will this be the year that Americans see a real raise in terms of their ability to have a good lifestyle?
CRAMER: Yes. Because this is the year where the companies have so much profit that it would be embarrassing if they didn't return it to some of the workers.
That's the financial genius Cramer telling us that the feudal overlords will be ashamed of the money bursting out of their pockets to such an extent that they will give the worker-ants more dead worms to eat!   That's not how economics works, of course (profits belong to the owners and the supply and demand in the labor markets tends to determine wages).  But feudal systems could work like that, I guess.

2.  Analyzing old rape kits makes for good (if expensive) policing.  Those kits are one obvious way of finding serial rapists.  Several US cities are now working through the kits which were ignored in the past and the yield from them is promising:

In Cleveland, which has submitted all of its 4,300 kits for testing, police have opened more than 1,800 investigations, with more than 1,000 still in progress. The local prosecutor's officer has indicted 231 people, a third of whom had at least one previous rape conviction.
More than 50 people have been arrested so far from ongoing investigations after officials in Houston completed testing 6,600 kits.
Memphis, which is only part way through its more than 12,000 backlogged kits, has opened 243 investigations, indicting 36 people.
And a new effort in Colorado saw 24 Codis matches from the first 150 kits tested, according to local media.
Such results suggest other cities and states may have thousands of new cases sitting on their shelves.

What's scary in that story are the cases where the same perpetrator appears to have been involved in several rapes but no name can be attached to him.

3.  And just to leaven the dough:  This older story about fifteenth-century style portraits created in an airplane lavatory (to demonstrate human creativity used in a good way).  Doesn't it make you want to see what could be done with desk implements, say? 

Or if you are more interested in literature and fairy tales, read this article about one group of German fairy tales.  It has feminist stuff in it, among other things.