Stand Your Ground Increases Racial Bias in “Justifiable Homicide” Trials

At MetroTrends, John Roman and Mitchell Downey report their analysis of  4,650 FBI records of homicides in which a person killed a stranger with a handgun. They conclude that stand your ground “tilts the odds in favor of the shooter.”  In SYG states, 13.6% of homicides were rules justifiable; in non-SYG states, only 7.2% were deemed such.  This is strong evidence that rulings of justifiable homicide are more likely under stand your ground.
But which homicides?

The very kind decided in the Zimmerman trial today.  A finding of “justifiable homicide” is much more common in the case of a white-on-black killing than any other kind including a white and a black person.  As PBS’s request, Roman compared the likelihood of a favorable finding for the defendant in SYG and non SYG cases, consider the races of the people involved.  The data is clear, compared to white-on-white crimes, stand your ground increases the likelihood of a not-guilty finding, but only when a person is accused of killing a black person.
It’s simple: stand your ground laws increase the chances that a homicide will be considered justifiable because it gives the jurors more leeway to give defendants the benefit of the doubt.  But, jurors will likely give that benefit of the doubt to certain kinds of defendants and not others. Stand your ground may or may not be a good law in theory but, in practice, it increases racial bias in legal outcomes.

Stand Your Ground Increases Racial Bias in “Justifiable Homicide” Trials

At MetroTrends, John Roman and Mitchell Downey report their analysis of  4,650 FBI records of homicides in which a person killed a stranger with a handgun. They conclude that stand your ground “tilts the odds in favor of the shooter.”  In SYG states, 13.6% of homicides were rules justifiable; in non-SYG states, only 7.2% were deemed such.  This is strong evidence that rulings of justifiable homicide are more likely under stand your ground.

But which homicides?

The very kind decided in the Zimmerman trial today.  A finding of “justifiable homicide” is much more common in the case of a white-on-black killing than any other kind including a white and a black person.  As PBS’s request, Roman compared the likelihood of a favorable finding for the defendant in SYG and non SYG cases, consider the races of the people involved.  The data is clear, compared to white-on-white crimes, stand your ground increases the likelihood of a not-guilty finding, but only when a person is accused of killing a black person.

It’s simple: stand your ground laws increase the chances that a homicide will be considered justifiable because it gives the jurors more leeway to give defendants the benefit of the doubt.  But, jurors will likely give that benefit of the doubt to certain kinds of defendants and not others. Stand your ground may or may not be a good law in theory but, in practice, it increases racial bias in legal outcomes.

Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 6 notes
China Bus Fire That Killed 47 Was Arson-Suicide

Police in China said Saturday that a suicidal man was responsible for a fire that swept through a commuter bus in the country’s eastern coastal city of Xiamen, killing 47 people including the arsonist and injuring dozens more.
Authorities say 59-year-old Chen Shuizong left a suicide note at his home before setting the fire aboard the bus during Friday’s rush hour. The official Xinhua news agency says he was “unhappy and pessimistic about his life, and planned the arson to vent personal grievances.”

The Associated Press gives a little background:

"China has seen bombings and arsons of buses and public buildings in recent years, by people trying to settle personal scores or having overtly political grievances.
In 2009, an unemployed man set fire to a packed bus in the central city of Chengdu, killing himself and 26 others. In other case, people angry or unhappy with life have used knives or other weapons in attacks on children at schools.”

China Bus Fire That Killed 47 Was Arson-Suicide

Police in China said Saturday that a suicidal man was responsible for a fire that swept through a commuter bus in the country’s eastern coastal city of Xiamen, killing 47 people including the arsonist and injuring dozens more.

Authorities say 59-year-old Chen Shuizong left a suicide note at his home before setting the fire aboard the bus during Friday’s rush hour. The official Xinhua news agency says he was “unhappy and pessimistic about his life, and planned the arson to vent personal grievances.”

The Associated Press gives a little background:

"China has seen bombings and arsons of buses and public buildings in recent years, by people trying to settle personal scores or having overtly political grievances.

In 2009, an unemployed man set fire to a packed bus in the central city of Chengdu, killing himself and 26 others. In other case, people angry or unhappy with life have used knives or other weapons in attacks on children at schools.”


Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 16 notes

Orlando DeWitt was allegedly stabbed in the arm by Fargo resident Ashley Hunter, whom he had previously met in prison, reports The Smoking Gun. The tryst went down Feb. 8, after the two men left a Fargo bar and went back to Hunter’s house for a party.

According to The Smoking Gun, DeWitt told police that he and a female partier began kissing on a couch, when Hunter joined in. The woman “began to perform oral sex on Hunter” while DeWitt had intercourse with her, but when Hunter asked to switch positions DeWitt refused. That is when thethreesome took a turn for the worse. Hunter reportedly threatened to “f**k him up” and “kill him,” then pulled a 12-inch butcher knife from his couch and stabbed DeWitt twice as he attempted to run away.


quantumaniac:

18 Surprising Facts That Will Motivate You to Stop Wasting Food

With nearly 100 percent certainty I can assure you we won’t be hearing President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, or their respective surrogates, talking about America’s food waste dilemma (or what I and others would describe as a crisis) in the months ahead.  That’s too bad since food waste is creating significant social, economic and environmental consequences  for the US (and the world).

1. Between one quarter and one half of the more than 590 billion pounds of food produced each year in the United States is squandered during the farm-to-table supply chain.  Using this range, food writer and food waste expert Jonathan Bloom estimates  that, every day America wastes enough food to fill the Rose Bowl – the 90,000-seat football stadium in Pasadena, California – and sometimes it’s as much as two stadiums full.

2. Americas’ per capita food waste has increased by 50 percent since 1974 .

3. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2010 discarded food represented the single largest component  of municipal solid waste reaching landfills and incinerators.

4. Food waste represents a significant cost to local governments (and ultimately taxpayers who already paid for it once as consumers), which is why many municipalities like the City of Santa Monica, California  and Charleston County, South Carolina  are adopting food waste collection and composting programs.

5. Food waste is particularly egregious at a time when hunger is a growing problem and an increasing human rights issue.  If we wasted just 5 percent less food, it would be enough to feed 4 million Americans; 20 percent less waste  could feed 25 million Americans annually.

6. Approximately $100 to $160 billion is spent each year on producing food that is ultimately wasted. (This estimate comes from Jonathan Bloom’s American Wasteland .)

7. Crops are sometimes left unharvested  because their appearance does not meet strict quality standards required by many supermarkets and expected by consumers.

8. A large portion of food waste occurs in households.  The average American throws away 20 pounds of food each month  or about two-thirds of a pound per person per day.

9. Fresh products like fish, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables make up most of household food waste .

10. Much of household food waste is due to spoilage, overcooking, plate waste and over-purchasing.  According to  new research  commissioned by WRAP (an advocacy group established to implement and market recycling in the UK), about two-thirds of annual household waste in the UK is due to food not being used in time, whereas the other one-third is caused by people cooking or serving too much.

11. Restaurants also contribute to the problem  with supersized portions, sprawling menus and inadequate training for food handlers when it comes to minimizing food waste.

12. Some waste happens because people are confused about “use-by” and “best-by” dates  – which are based on manufacturer suggestions for peak quality – and can cause people to throw out food for fear that it is spoiled, when in fact it is still consumable.

13. Most grocery stores discard food products as soon as they are past their “sell-by” dates even though these products still have shelf life left.

14. Given the water and energy intensive nature of growing, processing, packaging, warehousing, transporting and preparing food, it follows that wasted food means wasted energy, water and agricultural resources.  Approximately  2.5 percent of the US energy budget is “thrown away” annually as food waste. This is equivalent to the energy contained in hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. In addition, 25 percent  of all freshwater consumed annually in the US is associated with discarded food – about as much as the volume of Lake Erie .

15. Food waste has significant ecological consequences. Wasted food translates to a significant amount of land conversion from forests, grasslands and wetlands to agriculture which adversely impacts biodiversity and exacerbates pesticide and fertilizer runoff. At the disposal end, nearly all food waste ends up in landfills, allowing it to decompose and release methane , a greenhouse gas that traps 21 times more heat than carbon dioxide.  (Yes, another nexus issue: food waste-climate change.)

16. “With such a hugely inefficient food system comes opportunity,” says  Dana Gunders , Project Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council and author of a forthcoming NRDC report about food waste. “Entrepreneurs and innovators who figure out how to tap into the huge reservoir of wasted food will find savings for themselves, their customers, and the planet as a whole.” One opportunity is to reconnect the whole supply chain from farm to table and  table to farm  by composting food waste and using it as fertilizer to grow crops. Another opportunity is to connect home and community gardeners so that their excess harvest can be donated to the needy instead of allowing it to rot. (Check out  what “nutrition revolutionary” Sharon Feuer Gruber and Bread for the City, the largest food pantry in Washington, D.C. are up to.)

17. The solution is a combination of radically reducing food waste at its source while ensuring that what gets wasted becomes a resource rather than trash. Significant reductions in food waste can often be achieved through simple changes in food purchasing, storage and preparation. Using “unavoidable” food waste as a resource involves diverting it from landfills and using it to generate energy or create fertilizer from compost.

18. Improving the efficiency of our food system offers environmental benefits (less pollution and more efficient resource use), social benefits (reducing hunger through food donations) and economic benefits (cost savings to businesses, consumers and municipalities).

Source

Wow. Just wow.



discoverynews:

Why Humans Prevailed Over Neanderthals
Rather than destroying our enemies in an epic battle, humans may have won out by being savvy survivors.
keep reading
This fascinating slideshow shows the evolution of the faces of our ancestors.

discoverynews:

Why Humans Prevailed Over Neanderthals

Rather than destroying our enemies in an epic battle, humans may have won out by being savvy survivors.

keep reading

This fascinating slideshow shows the evolution of the faces of our ancestors.


discoverynews:

President Obama Becomes the First American President to Back Same-Sex Marriage

“I’ve just concluded, for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News.
Obama, who had previously backed strong protections for gay and lesbian couples, said his position had evolved partly after talking to his two daughters Malia and Sasha who had some friends who had same-sex parents.
“It wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective,” Obama said in the interview.

keep reading

discoverynews:

President Obama Becomes the First American President to Back Same-Sex Marriage

“I’ve just concluded, for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News.

Obama, who had previously backed strong protections for gay and lesbian couples, said his position had evolved partly after talking to his two daughters Malia and Sasha who had some friends who had same-sex parents.

“It wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective,” Obama said in the interview.

keep reading


reuters:

Florida politicians and civil rights leaders joined calls for the firing of a police chief in the case of a neighborhood watch captain who killed an unarmed black teenager, as new details emerged on Wednesday about police handling of the investigation.
“The reality is that people in this community have lost faith in the police chief’s ability to keep their children safe,” Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told Reuters.
Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, echoed the call in an appearance on CNN. “Not only would I like to see it happen, but I’m joining with them to make sure it happens,” Wilson said.
Speaking in the U.S. House of Representatives, Florida congresswoman Corrine Brown criticized the police investigation of the shooter, George Zimmerman, who remains free almost a month after gunning down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin outside a gated community in Sanford, near Orlando.
“No drug tests. No alcohol tests. No lie detector tests. It’s just his word that he felt threatened, so therefore he shot to kill. That is unacceptable,” said Brown, who is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Read more: Florida police chief under fire in case of slain teen

reuters:

Florida politicians and civil rights leaders joined calls for the firing of a police chief in the case of a neighborhood watch captain who killed an unarmed black teenager, as new details emerged on Wednesday about police handling of the investigation.

“The reality is that people in this community have lost faith in the police chief’s ability to keep their children safe,” Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told Reuters.

Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, echoed the call in an appearance on CNN. “Not only would I like to see it happen, but I’m joining with them to make sure it happens,” Wilson said.

Speaking in the U.S. House of Representatives, Florida congresswoman Corrine Brown criticized the police investigation of the shooter, George Zimmerman, who remains free almost a month after gunning down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin outside a gated community in Sanford, near Orlando.

“No drug tests. No alcohol tests. No lie detector tests. It’s just his word that he felt threatened, so therefore he shot to kill. That is unacceptable,” said Brown, who is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Read more: Florida police chief under fire in case of slain teen


Reblog / posted 2 years ago via latimes · © good with 355 notes

good:

A 300 percent increase in tuition and lackluster financial aid from state schools is making elite private universities look more appealing. As the state has cut billions of dollars from education budgets over the past few years, California’s universities have begun admitting more out-of-state students, who pay triple the tuition. This makes private schools resting on billion-dollar endowments appear way more attractive to their accepted students. 

Read more on GOOD 

California has a prestigious history of post-secondary education, and it is currently in ruins. At one point, the UC system was the crown jewel of university systems and was a shining example of high quality public education. Costs have now skyrocketed, admissions and classes are being cut, professors are underpaid and overworked while presidents are making more money than the POTUS. 


Reblog / posted 2 years ago with 8 notes

Tumblr will begin banning and removing self-harm blogs. Are you in favor of the censorship? Do self-harm blogs actually increase the practice of self-harm, or are we taking away avenues for sufferers to express their disorder and see that they are not alone? I’m not arguing whether or not Tumblr has the right to censor, obviously they possess that right. I’m thinking more about the experience of the followers of those blogs and actual damage caused or therapeutic value to those followers. I hate that PsyPORT linked a article from Fox. 

Tumblr said that while it is committed to supporting and defending freedom of speech, it does draw some limits.

"Some specific kinds of content aren’t welcome on Tumblr," the staff wrote. Blogs that cross the line into active promotion or glorification of self-harm behaviors will be removed.

In addition to taking down blogs that support eating disorders, cutting and suicide, Tumblr will refer readers to appropriate help organizations when they search for self-harm content. For instance, when a Tumblr user types in tags that are associated with support tips for anorexics such as “thinspiration,” “thinspo” and “pro-ana,” Tumblr will show a public service message such as:

“Eating disorders can cause serious health problems, and at their most severe can even be life-threatening. Please contact the [resource organization] at [helpline number] or [website].”

However, some Tumblr bloggers are concerned that the new policy will do more harm than good. “Self- harm blogs are helping me know that I’m not alone in this world,” a Tumblr user wrote. "Without my blog and everyone else’s blogs, I’d probably be dead by now."

A London-based user has launched an online petition to stop the ban. She said that self-harm bloggers post this content because it is an accurate representation of feelings that they would otherwise not be able to express. To them, Tumblr is a form of therapy, she said.

Her petition has been signed by more than 1,650 supporters. It urges Tumblr to consider an alternative to the ban. Bloggers posting self-harm related content could be required to include a disclaimer that the author cannot be held responsible for how viewers interpret the content they post along with links to recovery sites.


Appeals court rules Prop. 8 unconstitutional!
‎”Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples,” said Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the majority opinion.

Appeals court rules Prop. 8 unconstitutional!

‎”Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples,” said Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the majority opinion.


The patient uploaded his x-ray to Facebook in the ambulance between hospitals.

A suburban Chicago man accidentally shot a 3.25in (8.25cm) nail into his skull but is recovering after doctors successfully removed it from the centre of his brain.
Dante Autullo, 34, was in his workshop when a nail gun recoiled near his head.
But he had no idea the nail had entered his brain until the next day, when he began feeling nauseous.
Doctors told Mr Autullo that the nail came within millimetres of the area used for motor function.

The patient uploaded his x-ray to Facebook in the ambulance between hospitals.

A suburban Chicago man accidentally shot a 3.25in (8.25cm) nail into his skull but is recovering after doctors successfully removed it from the centre of his brain.

Dante Autullo, 34, was in his workshop when a nail gun recoiled near his head.

But he had no idea the nail had entered his brain until the next day, when he began feeling nauseous.

Doctors told Mr Autullo that the nail came within millimetres of the area used for motor function.


laboratoryequipment:

Automated Imaging Speeds Whole-Brain MappingA new technology developed by neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) transforms the way highly detailed anatomical images can be made of whole brains. Until now, means of obtaining such images – used in cutting-edge projects to map the mammalian brain - have been painstakingly slow and available only to a handful of highly specialized research teams. By automating and standardizing the process in which brain samples are divided into sections and then imaged sequentially at precise spatial orientations in two-photon microscopes, the team, led by Assoc. Prof. Pavel Osten and consisting of scientists from his CSHL lab and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has opened the door to making whole-brain mapping routine.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news-Automated-Imaging-Speeds-Whole-Brain-Mapping-011612.aspx

laboratoryequipment:

Automated Imaging Speeds Whole-Brain Mapping

A new technology developed by neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) transforms the way highly detailed anatomical images can be made of whole brains. Until now, means of obtaining such images – used in cutting-edge projects to map the mammalian brain - have been painstakingly slow and available only to a handful of highly specialized research teams. By automating and standardizing the process in which brain samples are divided into sections and then imaged sequentially at precise spatial orientations in two-photon microscopes, the team, led by Assoc. Prof. Pavel Osten and consisting of scientists from his CSHL lab and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has opened the door to making whole-brain mapping routine.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news-Automated-Imaging-Speeds-Whole-Brain-Mapping-011612.aspx


jtotheizzoe:

Awesomely funny list of things that you already pretty much figure were true but we decided to spend money researching anyway. Hey, we have a glut of PhD students to keep busy!

Highlights:

  • Drinking increases the likelihood of unsafe sex
  • Smoking pot and driving isn’t safe
  • Shoppers don’t read nutrition labels
  • People aren’t really doing anything on the internet

(via Scientific American)


timemagazine:


TIME’s 2011 Person of the Year is The Protester

timemagazine:

TIME’s 2011 Person of the Year is The Protester