Kottke points to a new blog by Eleanor Lutz, who combines her backgrounds in design and molecular biology to beautiful effect, as in the above animation of North American butterflies. Explore more of her work here.
Christopher Ingraham captions:
Do you drink a glass of wine with dinner every night? That puts you in the top 30 percent of American adults in terms of per-capita alcohol consumption. If you drink two glasses, that would put you in the top 20 percent. But in order to break into the top 10 percent of American drinkers, you would need to drink more than two bottles of wine with every dinner. And you’d still be below-average among those top 10 percenters.
Drum flags the above one – and it is truly staggering:
The precise numbers (from Piketty and Saez) can always be argued with, but the basic trend is hard to deny. After the end of each recession, the well-off have pocketed an ever greater share of the income growth from the subsequent expansion. Unsurprisingly, there’s an especially big bump after 1975, but this is basically a secular trend that’s been showing a steady rise toward nosebleed territory for more than half a century. Welcome to the 21st century.
Jordan Weissmann chimes in:
Through mid-century, when times were good economically, most of the benefits trickled down to the bottom 90 percent of households. Then came the Reagan era and actual trickle-down economics. Suddenly, the benefits started sticking with the rich. Since 2001, the top 10 percent have enjoyed virtually all of the gains.
Ryan Cooper adds:
Most staggering of all, during our current economic expansion, the bottom 90 percent is suffering declining incomes. Not only is the rising tide not lifting everyone equally, it’s actually submerging nine out of ten people.
So it seems that the theory behind trickle-down economics has been empirically refuted: its impact has been overwhelmingly trickle-up. It is also quite clear by now that huge tax cuts do not remotely pay for themselves – and the recent experience in Kansas only adds a final coda to this. And yet the GOP shows absolutely no sign of absorbing these facts, or having anything to say about the dangerous political instability of huge social and economic inequality and crippling debt that are their consequence.
This is why I have such a hard time with contemporary American conservatism. It is still incapable of moving on from Reagan, even as the world has changed beyond recognition.
A new survey shows that a majority of Americans – including, for the first time, a majority of white Americans – believe the justice system is unfair to black people. Adam Serwer notes that opinions have shifted substantially across all demographic groups surveyed. German Lopez believes Ferguson changed the debate:
While young adults saw the most dramatic shift toward acknowledging racial disparities in the criminal justice system, everyone else — seniors and Republicans included — saw a significant change as well. Notably, a majority (51 percent) of white Americans now appear to agree that there are some racial disparities in the criminal justice system, up from 42 percent just one year ago. It’s possible that this is a temporary blip, especially since the survey was conducted a month after the events in Ferguson. But since some studies suggest it’s difficult to get white Americans to see and care about racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the survey could indicate the beginnings of a big change in public perspectives.
We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to combat:
Last year alone, 475 active service members took their own lives according to a report published last week by the Department of Defense. In the same year, 127 soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty reported icasualties.org — a website that has been documenting war deaths since the Iraq War in 2003. That’s the lowest level since 2008.
The same Department of Defense report said that 120 personnel took their own lives in the first quarter of 2014, a rate of nearly one soldier every day. That compares with 43 soldiers who lost their lives on the front line between January 1 and September 11, 2014.
by Dish Staff
The GOP is getting more hawkish:
Less than a year ago, just 18 percent of GOPers said that the United States does “too little” when it comes to helping solve the world’s problems, according to a Pew Research Center poll. Today, that number has more than doubled, to 46 percent. Over that same span – from November to today – the percentage of Republicans who say the United States does “too much” has dropped from 52 percent to 37 percent, and those who say the United States does about the right amount has declined from 26 percent to 14 percent.
by Dish Staff
Swearing may be getting more common:
Kristin Jay, a psychologist at Marist College who’s collected data on public swearing says that, on the whole, it seems to be getting somewhat more common. Recently, she and her husband Timothy Jay asked a group of American adults to rigorously record every time they heard a swear word in public for an entire year. When they compared their data to a similar study conducted in 1986, they found that the frequency of most words had increased over time.
In an interview, Jay cautioned from reading too deeply into the findings — especially on the individual word level — because the volunteers might not have perfectly recorded every curse they heard, and the subjects weren’t spread out across the country (they were clustered in New England and Southern California). That said, Jay notes one possible reason that swearing may be on the upswing. “We see changing speech standards in the media we consume,” she says. “The media we used to consume were much more sanitized, and we had fewer things to choose from and less control over what we exposed ourselves to.”
by Dish Staff
Sonali Kohli breaks down the demographics of suicide:
Though suicide awareness and prevention efforts in the US are largely targeted toward either teens or the elderly, Williams represents a demographic of the country—middle-aged, white, male—with an increasing incidence of suicide. Suicide occurrence in the US is most common among middle-aged people. Between 1999 and 2011, more than 48,600 people between the ages of 45 and 49 committed suicide, compared with 20,930 teens between the ages of 15 and 19.
by Dish Staff
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has coincided with fewer teens using the drug:
About 20 percent of teens surveyed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said they had used marijuana in the past 30 days in 2013, down from 22 percent in 2011. The survey also found a decline in reported lifetime use, from 39 percent in 2011 to 37 percent in 2013. CDPHE said the declines were not statistically significant. But previous data suggests the drops are part of a longer-term trend that began even before Colorado voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 2000.
Sullum analyzes the report:
It is still possible, of course, that legal recreational sales, which began in Colorado only this year, will increase teenagers’ access to marijuana (not through direct sales but through diversion from adult buyers), which might lead to an increase in consumption. Colorado officials express a somewhat different concern. According to a press release from the health department, “Health experts worry that the normalization of marijuana use in Colorado could lead more young people to try it.” In other words, they worry that allowing adults to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use will encourage teenagers to take a more positive view of cannabis, which will make them more likely to use it. Call it the “permitted fruit” effect. Prohibitionists such as former drug czar Gil Kerlikowske raised the same complaint against medical marijuana laws, but their fears seem to have been misplaced.