Thursday, January 06, 2011

The decline of the serial killer

From Slate:
Statistics on serial murder are hard to come by—the FBI doesn't keep numbers, according to a spokeswoman—but the data we do have suggests serial murders peaked in the 1980s and have been declining ever since. James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University and co-author of Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder, keeps a database of confirmed serial murderers starting in 1900. According to his count, based on newspaper clippings, books, and Web sources, there were only a dozen or so serial killers before 1960 in the United States. Then serial killings took off: There were 19 in the 1960s, 119 in the '70s, and 200 in the '80s. In the '90s, the number of cases dropped to 141. And the 2000s saw only 61 serial murderers. (Definitions of serial murder" vary, but Fox defines it as "a string of four or more homicides committed by one or a few perpetrators that spans a period of days, weeks, months, or even years." To avoid double-counting, he assigns killers to the decade in which they reached the midpoint of their careers.)


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Washington Examiner: "D.C. wants to teach juvenile delinquents Yoga, Tai-Chi."


Is leading a life without a diet coke once in a while worth it?

Ken Nelson is blogging about following the recommendations (via Instapundit) in Tim Ferriss's book, The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. His January 4th entry describes giving up artificial sweeteners:
I’ve been stuck around 190 lbs for a few days. After reviewing the 4 Hour Body “diagnosing problems” chapter, I skipped all artificial sweeteners today. I’d mainly been getting them in caffeine free Diet Coke at lunch, and in Splenda sweetening green tea in the evening.

Well, I had no sweeteners today, and I don’t miss them, and I actually feel pretty good without them.

Tomorrow, I hope to see the weight start to come off again, but even if not, the test confirms that I don’t need the stuff, and I feel better without it.

This dieter is trying to take off weight and feel better. Me, I just want to feel better (if I'm fat, so be it) but I wonder if giving up Splenda is really the answer. I worry that it will just lead to other problems like eating more foods with real sugar. Is leading a life without a diet coke once in a while worth it? I think not...

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The effects of sexual abuse on males

If any of you would like to read in more detail about studies related to male sexual abuse, take a look at these books and papers. There is one book entitled Female Sexual Abuse of Children that looks particularly good (though it is a bit old, written in 1994). Most of the studies presented at the link support that men are affected deeply by female perpetrators of child sexual abuse. For example, a study from 2005 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concludes:
In this cohort of adult HMO members, experiencing CSA (childhood sexual abuse) was common among both men and women. The long-term impact of CSA on multiple health and social problems was similar for both men and women. These findings strongly indicate that boys and girls are vulnerable to this form of childhood maltreatment; the similarity in the likelihood for multiple behavioral, mental, and social outcomes among men and women suggests the need to identify and treat all adults affected by CSA.


Monday, January 03, 2011

Some thoughts on sexual double standards

My previous post on the Arizona case where a mother and daughter were alleged to be sexually involved with a boy from the age of 14 raises an important question that I would like to add my personal thoughts on.

Should it be a crime to have sex with a a fourteen-year-old boy if a woman is 18 or older? My answer? It depends. My reason for writing the post was to point out the double standard we have in our society that says that it is okay for a woman to have sex with a boy, almost at any age, and he should even be grateful for the experience, while a man of 18 or older should always be held accountable for sex with a girl younger than 18. I think this premise is false.

There are some girls at 14-17 who are capable of making reasonable decisions about their sexuality and there are some boys of that age who are not. Robert Epstein, the author of The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen says that many of the laws that restrict love and sex for teens are based on faulty assumptions. He states that the these laws assume that no young people are capable of engaging in sexual activities responsibly, and that the laws assume that all young people are the same.

I was watching some show on the new Oprah channel yesterday and the host asked people in the audience when they lost their virginity. The majority said from 15 to 20. Sure, some may have been 18-20 but many may also have been 15-17. It is common to have sex before 18 for many people, even (or maybe especially) for those in Oprah's audience. We do need to look closely at whether or not the laws pertaining to this teen sex are fair, or whether they are too restrictive or cause harm to those who should not be harmed (e.g. an 18-year-old guy having sex with his 16-year old girlfriend, or an 18 -year-old girl having sex with her 16-year-old boyfriend etc.).

However, that said, my position is that the laws, whatever they are need to be fair. If a 14- year- old girl can't give consent to sex, than neither should a 14-year-old boy. If men go to jail for sex with 14-17 years old teens, then women should go to jail too. Both sexes should be punished equally. If the law decides that teens that age can consent to sex, then both men and women should avoid jail altogether. Just be fair.