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Fact Check Update: is Lewiston, Maine Crime-Ridden since the 2001 arrival of Somali Immigrants?

Since I’ve moved to Maine, I’ve encountered a lot of friendly people, but I’ve also heard many derogatory comments about the supposed criminality of Somali immigrants who began arriving in Lewiston, Maine in the year 2001. Last year, I decided to check the claim that Somalis had brought crime to Lewiston against the observed crime […]

My $1000 Bet: No Teacher is Going to Be Shot at Holding a Bulletproof Whiteboard in 2014

As I noted yesterday, the latest report on school violence from the Bureau of Justice Statistics has been released. As the data in that report show, the in-school homicide rate in 2010-2011 was 0.00002%; in other words, a child’s chance of being killed in school during that year was 1 in 4.5 million.

To […]

Statistics Show Biblical Literalists Sin Against Their Religion Every Time They Go To Church

Christian Biblical literalists are faced with this choice: They must either stop going to church, or stop being Biblical literalists, and accept that the Bible is really just a collection of metaphors, and not really the divine word of any supernatural being. […]

The Rise of Mental Illness in the Apparel Sector

In his 2011 treatise Why the Epidemic? Bring Me My Pants, Dr. Marzo Angeli of the Krans Fripkin Institute taps into various streams of evidence to track a stark rise in mental disorders in the apparel sector over the past 15 years. Although Dr. Angeli finds the identification of this trend to be a simple […]

Fact Check: Malcolm Gladwell’s Mythic South

As I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers over the last few days, I’ve been accumulating a sense of hokum as Gladwell tells stories and spins out anecdotes. My B.S. detector finally hit the limit with this claim (p. 169):

The triumph of a culture of honor helps to explain why the pattern of criminality […]

Muslim Warts Under Scrutiny

The Journal of Religion and Health releases new research this spring asking the all-important question, can prayer by Muslim religious authorities cure warts? With the publication of “Therapeutic Effects of Islamic Intercessory Prayer on Warts” by Turkish academic, government and medical researchers Evren Hoşrik, Aydın E. Cüceloğlu and Seval Erpolat, can we learn the answer?

[…]

Business is Always Better? Consider Health Care, says Amy

John Stossel writes: “I bet my readers $1,000 that they couldn’t name one thing that government does better than the private sector. I am yet to pay. Free enterprise does everything better.”

John Stossel must be blind.

Consider health care, for instance. Professor Douglas Amy of Mount Holyoke College looked into this issue; here’s an […]

Those Poor Socialist Countries

Gene Berkman writes:

Rather than screw the poor, capitalism has created the most prosperous societies in human history. The socialist regimes are all charactized by depravation and loss of liberty. When government grows, it takes resources from the civilian economy, and makes everyone poorer.

From Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Statistics:

Life expectancy:

France […]

NRA claim about Crime and Right-to-Carry States: Is it True? (Fact Check)

Yesterday, I noticed the recent Twitter posting of a disgraced former GOP chair:

“In right-to-carry states the violent crime rate is 24% lower than the rest of the US and the murder rate is 28% lower.”

A quick look at the latest available Uniform Crime Reports shows that this claim is not true. But I […]

If Meth Use is Really an Epidemic, it’s a Pretty Lame One

Look through local news outlets around the country and you’ll find local police departments with anecdotal reports heralding the explosion of a “meth epidemic.”

But is the country really being struck by a meth epidemic? Not according to national statistics (click images to visit source data, provided by the Drug Enforcement Agency and the University […]

Automatic License Plate Readers: Persistent Privacy Invaders with a 0.0047% Hit Rate that Don’t Stop Crime

The American Civil Liberties Union has recently released a report showing that license plate readers, mounted on police cars and designed to automatically scan plates and pull up associated driver information:

Are present in all 50 states of the USA; Add information to identify where cars are located and when they were located there; Are […]