Pumped full of lead

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thoreau
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by thoreau » 12 Aug 2014, 12:57

http://www.nber.org/papers/w20366

Reduced lead exposure is also linked to reduced teen pregnancy. This could help explain why the drop has been so robust and long-lasting: Not only do you have fewer teens and twenty-somethings committing crimes, a couple decades into the crime drop you get fewer people raised by teen mothers in sub-optimal environments.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Aresen » 12 Aug 2014, 13:02

thoreau wrote:http://www.nber.org/papers/w20366

Reduced lead exposure is also linked to reduced teen pregnancy. This could help explain why the drop has been so robust and long-lasting: Not only do you have fewer teens and twenty-somethings committing crimes, a couple decades into the crime drop you get fewer people raised by teen mothers in sub-optimal environments.
I'm going with "Correlation is not causation" on that one.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Mo » 12 Aug 2014, 13:10

Aresen wrote:
thoreau wrote:http://www.nber.org/papers/w20366

Reduced lead exposure is also linked to reduced teen pregnancy. This could help explain why the drop has been so robust and long-lasting: Not only do you have fewer teens and twenty-somethings committing crimes, a couple decades into the crime drop you get fewer people raised by teen mothers in sub-optimal environments.
I'm going with "Correlation is not causation" on that one.
Because it is a coincidence or because they have a common cause? Obviously, it is not that the causal arrow is reversed because that would require time travel.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by thoreau » 12 Aug 2014, 13:11

That's often a good caveat to keep in mind, but consider the following:
1) The lead-crime hypothesis holds up when you look at finer-grained levels than the entire country, and look at the timing of when lead exposure fell in a given locale and when crime subsequently fell. It's one thing to find that two variables correlate, and another to find that they correlate in most/all subsets of the data, and with a time lag that fits a plausible mechanism.
2) The plausible mechanism is that lead exposure during childhood apparently compromises impulse control, which would have obvious consequences for both crime and teen pregnancy.
3) The same pattern shows up in other countries, with timing that depends on when the country reduced lead exposure.

This is not, of course, absolute proof of causation, but it's probably about as close as you'll get in social science.
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Aresen
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Aresen » 12 Aug 2014, 13:13

Coincidence.

I note also that the crime rate has decreased since the number of moon landings dropped off.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Mo » 12 Aug 2014, 13:14

Aresen wrote:Coincidence.

I note also that the crime rate has decreased since the number of moon landings dropped off.
Apollo 17 was in 1972, crime continued to rise for 2 decades.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by thoreau » 12 Aug 2014, 13:18

If somebody ran one correlation and said "OK, it's lead" I'd be right there with Aresen chanting one of the internet's favorite slogans. But this correlation holds up in many places, with many different cultural and economic circumstances, with timings that match the reduction in lead and a lag that matches the rough onset of youth crime.

It could be that there's something else going on--maybe a society that reaches the point where it will accept that sort of environmental regulation is also changing in other ways. But there's definitely something going on, something that is at least connected with the lead reduction. This is not mere coincidence.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Aresen » 12 Aug 2014, 13:18

Mo wrote:
Aresen wrote:Coincidence.

I note also that the crime rate has decreased since the number of moon landings dropped off.
Apollo 17 was in 1972, crime continued to rise for 2 decades.
It takes time for these things to work through the environment.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Mo » 12 Aug 2014, 13:26

thoreau wrote:If somebody ran one correlation and said "OK, it's lead" I'd be right there with Aresen chanting one of the internet's favorite slogans. But this correlation holds up in many places, with many different cultural and economic circumstances, with timings that match the reduction in lead and a lag that matches the rough onset of youth crime.

It could be that there's something else going on--maybe a society that reaches the point where it will accept that sort of environmental regulation is also changing in other ways. But there's definitely something going on, something that is at least connected with the lead reduction. This is not mere coincidence.
This is basically my POV. The fact that there was a previously known epidemiological pathway wrt lead poisoning combined with a similar pattern appearing in different countries at a different time and other impulse control behaviors besides crime also going down at the same time indicates to me that there is something there. It could be a confluence of coincidences, but the probability of that seems highly unlikely.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by tr0g » 12 Aug 2014, 13:30

It's just the fine-tuning of the mind control rays to make us docile little sheep. Lead is the explanation they're giving you so won't ask questions.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Mo » 12 Aug 2014, 13:37

tr0g wrote:It's just the fine-tuning of the mind control rays to make us docile little sheep. Lead is the explanation they're giving you so won't ask questions.
That makes sense. Less lead in the brain means less blocking of the mind control rays. :)
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by tr0g » 12 Aug 2014, 13:41

Mo wrote:
tr0g wrote:It's just the fine-tuning of the mind control rays to make us docile little sheep. Lead is the explanation they're giving you so won't ask questions.
That makes sense. Less lead in the brain means less blocking of the mind control rays. :)
Well, the paxilon hydrochlorate had some unintended side effects, so mind control rays, despite the initial capital investment, work out better in the long run.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Taktix® » 12 Aug 2014, 14:05

It would also explain why my "hey baby, did you grown up in a house with leaded paint?" pick-up line has been getting less and less effective over the years...
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by thoreau » 12 Aug 2014, 14:07

Mo wrote:
thoreau wrote:If somebody ran one correlation and said "OK, it's lead" I'd be right there with Aresen chanting one of the internet's favorite slogans. But this correlation holds up in many places, with many different cultural and economic circumstances, with timings that match the reduction in lead and a lag that matches the rough onset of youth crime.

It could be that there's something else going on--maybe a society that reaches the point where it will accept that sort of environmental regulation is also changing in other ways. But there's definitely something going on, something that is at least connected with the lead reduction. This is not mere coincidence.
This is basically my POV. The fact that there was a previously known epidemiological pathway wrt lead poisoning combined with a similar pattern appearing in different countries at a different time and other impulse control behaviors besides crime also going down at the same time indicates to me that there is something there. It could be a confluence of coincidences, but the probability of that seems highly unlikely.
The only other thing I can see is that environmental regulations are correlated with social change. But if that were the case I would expect crime drops to be correlated with the partisan makeup of state and local government. I'm not aware of evidence for that. Admittedly I haven't looked too hard, but if such evidence were out there I assume that one of the parties would be shouting it from the rooftops.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Mo » 12 Aug 2014, 14:58

thoreau wrote:
Mo wrote:
thoreau wrote:If somebody ran one correlation and said "OK, it's lead" I'd be right there with Aresen chanting one of the internet's favorite slogans. But this correlation holds up in many places, with many different cultural and economic circumstances, with timings that match the reduction in lead and a lag that matches the rough onset of youth crime.

It could be that there's something else going on--maybe a society that reaches the point where it will accept that sort of environmental regulation is also changing in other ways. But there's definitely something going on, something that is at least connected with the lead reduction. This is not mere coincidence.
This is basically my POV. The fact that there was a previously known epidemiological pathway wrt lead poisoning combined with a similar pattern appearing in different countries at a different time and other impulse control behaviors besides crime also going down at the same time indicates to me that there is something there. It could be a confluence of coincidences, but the probability of that seems highly unlikely.
The only other thing I can see is that environmental regulations are correlated with social change. But if that were the case I would expect crime drops to be correlated with the partisan makeup of state and local government. I'm not aware of evidence for that. Admittedly I haven't looked too hard, but if such evidence were out there I assume that one of the parties would be shouting it from the rooftops.
Part of the reason I don't find the improved policing hypothesis compelling is that while there was a significant improvement in the NYPD's tactics, during the same time frame the LAPD was arguably getting worse and still in their Rampart scandal fucked upness and crime was still going down at about the same rate in the 90s (and Newark was dropping even faster).
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Hugh Akston » 12 Aug 2014, 15:01

There may be other explanations for the drop in crime rates.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by tr0g » 12 Aug 2014, 15:06

Hugh Akston wrote:There may be other explanations for the drop in crime rates.
Oh, look, another useful data point for my "cops lie" talking point.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Kolohe » 12 Aug 2014, 15:12

Hugh Akston wrote:There may be other explanations for the drop in crime rates.
That's why you look mainly (and perhaps exclusively) at homicides; it is much more difficult to juke the stats for those.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by thoreau » 12 Aug 2014, 15:15

Homicide rates can drop if ER docs get better tech. You need to look at homicide plus assault plus attempted homicide.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Kolohe » 12 Aug 2014, 15:21

True, but I don't think that improved ER medicine is actually much of a factor. There are fewer people dying in our wars because of tech, but a lot of that is because the tech is married to speed. The typical homicide victim doesn't have a medic embedded in their house or neighborhood.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Eric the .5b » 12 Aug 2014, 15:27

I'll be less harshly skeptical of the lead hypothesis when thorough studies are done on it by researchers outside the tiny clique of mutually-citing proponents. Especially when the guy who's the prime mover of this thing is a Bell Curve apologist.

And, err, double-especially when that angle seems to be merrily glossed over by certain technocratic white liberals.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by Mo » 12 Aug 2014, 15:28

Eric the .5b wrote:Especially when the guy who's the prime mover of this thing is a Bell Curve apologist.
?
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by dbcooper » 12 Aug 2014, 15:39

Kolohe wrote:True, but I don't think that improved ER medicine is actually much of a factor. There are fewer people dying in our wars because of tech, but a lot of that is because the tech is married to speed. The typical homicide victim doesn't have a medic embedded in their house or neighborhood.
I've seen it cited by reputable commetators for gunshot victims.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by JD » 12 Aug 2014, 16:19

dbcooper wrote:
Kolohe wrote:True, but I don't think that improved ER medicine is actually much of a factor. There are fewer people dying in our wars because of tech, but a lot of that is because the tech is married to speed. The typical homicide victim doesn't have a medic embedded in their house or neighborhood.
I've seen it cited by reputable commetators for gunshot victims.
I believe there have been some studies that show that homeboy ambulance service compares favorably with calling 911 and waiting for the ambulance to show up. You don't have the advantage of medics during the ride, but you have the advantage of getting to the ER that much earlier.
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Re: Pumped full of lead

Post by thoreau » 12 Aug 2014, 16:26

I certainly agree that we need replication by a broader community of researchers. What I am enthused about is that IF this claim is independently replicated then I think the conclusions are plausible. Sometimes a claim is made but the evidence is weak enough that replicating it would still leave the claim in doubt. The case made here is strong enough (showing up in enough times and places, with a plausible causal mechanism and effects on things besides crime) that if it is replicated then the interpretation is reasonable.

But I certainly agree on the need for independent replication.
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