From the 26 July 2013 Science Daily article
Aiming to quell heated national debate about gun control with factual answers, two UC Irvine mathematicians have designed parameters to measure how to best prevent both one-on-one killings and mass shootings in the United States. Their paper appears Friday in the journal PLOS ONE.
“It’s time to bring a scientific framework to this problem,” said lead author Dominik Wodarz, a mathematical biologist who works on disease and evolutionary dynamics. His co-author and wife, Natalia Komarova, a mathematician who studies biomedical and social trends, added: “Can we design a rational way to argue about guns?”
Both were appalled not just by the December shooting deaths of 20 youngsters and eight adults in Newtown, Conn., but also by the bitterly emotional dispute over weapons that erupted anew. They decided to put their professional expertise to work.
“This debate cannot be settled satisfactorily by verbal arguments alone, since these are often driven by opinion and lack a solid scientific backing,” the authors write. “What is under debate is essentially an epidemiological problem: How do different gun control strategies affect the rate at which people become killed by attackers, and how can this rate be minimized?”
The duo reviewed available data stretching as far back as World War I, then drew up equations to compute whether policies ranging from a total firearm ban to “arm everyone” increase or decrease homicides. After running the numbers, they found that in more common domestic and one-on-one crimes, reduced legal gun availability — if properly enforced — is likelier to lower deaths. But in rare mass shootings, armed citizens might save lives if sufficiently trained to avoid accidentally shooting fleeing bystanders.
- California Mathematicians Develop Equation to Prevent Shootings (usnews.com)
- Gun Violence: Mathematicians Attempt To Bring Logic To The National Debate (medicaldaily.com)
2013 World Drug Report: stability in use of traditional drugs, alarming rise in new psychoactive substances
2013 World Drug Report: stability in use of traditional drugs, alarming rise in new psychoactive substances
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
The 2013 World Drug Report released today in Vienna shows that, while the use of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine seems to be declining in some parts of the world, prescription drug abuse and new psychoactive substance [NPS]
abuse is growing. In a special high-level event of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov urged concerted action to prevent the manufacture, trafficking and abuse of these substances.
Marketed as ‘legal highs’ and ‘designer drugs’, NPS are proliferating at an unprecedented rate and posing unforeseen public health challenges. The report shows that the number of NPS reported to UNODC rose from 166 at the end of 2009 to 251 by mid-2012, an increase of more than 50 per cent. For the first time, the number of NPS exceeded the total number of substances under international control (234). Since new harmful substances have been emerging with unfailing regularity on the drug scene, the international drug control system is now challenged by the speed and creativity of the NPS phenomenon.
This is an alarming drug problem – but the drugs are legal. Sold openly, including via the internet, NPS, which have not been tested for safety, can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs. Street names, such as “spice”, “meow-meow” and “bath salts” mislead young people into believing that they are indulging in low-risk fun. Given the almost infinite scope to alter the chemical structure of NPS, new formulations are outpacing efforts to impose international control. While law enforcement lags behind, criminals have been quick to tap into this lucrative market. The adverse effects and addictive potential of most of these uncontrolled substances are at best poorly understood.
The global picture for the use of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine shows some stability. In Europe, heroin use seems to be declining. Meanwhile, the cocaine market seems to be expanding in South America and in the emerging economies in Asia. Use of opiates (heroin and opium), on the other hand, remains stable (around 16 million people, or 0.4 per cent of the population aged 15-64), although a high prevalence of opiate use has been reported from South-West and Central Asia, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and North America.
- 2013 World Drug Report notes stability in use of traditional drugs and points to alarming rise in new psychoactive substances (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- UK legal high market is EU’s largest (bbc.co.uk)
- UN says Africa consuming more cocaine (ghanabusinessnews.com)
- UN World Drug Report 2013 – Alarming rise in NPS (drughealth.blogspot.com)
- Warwickshire’s Drug & Alcohol Action team work to tackle global increase in ‘legal highs’ (safeinwarwickshire.wordpress.com)
- Prohibitionists Say the Drugs They Banned Are Safer Than the Ones They Didn’t (reason.com)
- New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) 2013 (dailyaltreport.wordpress.com)
- Lure, Variety of Designer Drugs is Alarming, U.N. Agency Says (nlm.nih.gov)
..a useful resource for students and teachers in grades 9 – 12 to learn genetics.
GeneEd allows students and teachers to explore topics such as Cell Biology, DNA, Genes, Chromosomes, Heredity/Inheritance Patterns, Epigenetics/Inheritance and the Environment, Genetic Conditions, Evolution, Biostatistics, Biotechnology, DNA Forensics, and Top Issues in Genetics.
Teachers can use the site to introduce topics, supplement existing materials, and provide as a reliable source to students conducting research.The site links to categories such as research articles, animation, games, videos, interactive tutorials, and labs and experiments. 3D images, illustrations and text from NHRGI help to enrich the user experience by providing vivid imagery to reinforce genetic concepts.
Text varies from easy-to-read to advanced reading levels, which makes this a versatile tool both in and out of the classroom.
Specialty pages including Teacher Resources and Labs and Experiments highlight those tools that teachers may find particularly helpful.
Other specialty pages such as Careers in Genetics and Highlights allow students to see what is new and noteworthy in the field of Genetics along with links to different careers related to the science of Genetics.
- GeneEd (New Genetics Education Resource from the National Library of Medicine) (bluesyemre.com)
- Ancient human genome completed (stuff.co.nz)
- Arm Yourselves for the Upcoming (Genetics) Revolution (science.kqed.org)
- How much modern genetics should be learnt in school? (wellcometrust.wordpress.com)
- Personal genomics: where science fiction meets reality (csironewsblog.com)
Nearly all these 5 (of many) findings from the Brookings State of Metropolitan America analyses over the past year have major public health implications, especially
- Americans are increasingly stuck at home
“Americans move around more than their counterparts in other developed countries, but a lot less than they used to. Some fear that in the short run, homeowners are stuck in places with too few jobs, and not able or willing to move to places with healthier labor markets. Longer run, and perhaps more importantly, states and metro areas that relied too heavily on in-migration for growth must re-calibrate their economies to create better, more diverse job opportunities for current and future residents.”
- Minorities are driving growth, replenishing America’s youth
“Large metro areas, and increasingly their suburbs, stand at the forefront of America’s transformation into a multiethnic society. How they respond to and manage that shift, especially the social and economic opportunities they provide to a highly diverse population of families with children, will establish the course for our nation’s well-being over the coming decades. Rapid growth in the immigrant population in some parts of the country produced late-decade policy backlashes that could threaten these places’ longer-run economic well-being.”
- Boomers continue to age, transforming America’s households
“The older population is growing everywhere, and a host of public and private services will be adapted to an aging population in the decades to come. Areas that are also gaining younger populations may have a resource advantage in responding to those changes, compared to rapidly aging northern states and metro areas. Yet because the former areas have more racially and ethnically diverse young people, they too may face challenges in managing competition for scarce public resources between predominantly white seniors and minority families with children.”
- America lost ground in income and poverty in the 2000’s
“Census 2000 captured American households at a high-water mark economically, a far different situation than they faced in 2010. Economic growth strategies for the coming decade must place greater emphasis on achieving shared prosperity that lifts incomes for a broad segment of households. With unemployment projected to remain high for some time, many parts of the country will confront higher fiscal and social burdens associated with poverty, including concentrated poverty, for the foreseeable future. All metro areas, meanwhile, must continue to adapt a traditionally city-focused social services infrastructure for helping the poor to the reality of region-wide needs.”
- US Census Bureau – source of data about the nation’s people and economy, including
- Population & Housing Census – every 10 years
- Economic Census – every 5 years
- Census of Governments – every 5 years
- American Community Survey – annually
- Our many surveys — both Demographic & Economic
- Economic Indicators – each indicator is released on a specific schedule, see the Economic Indicator CalendarGreat places to start searching for statistics about
- Census Bureau to Release 2010 Census Statistics on Nation’s 65 and Older Population (prnewswire.com)
- New Census Figures Show Increase in Poor to 16 Percent of Total Population (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Census Records Not Enough When Researching Race (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for December 9 (prnewswire.com)
- Census 2010 Data on Census 2000 Maps – How We Do It (policymap.com)
- How the U.S. Census Can Help Your Business (smallbizdaily.com)
- War On Information: Budget Cuts Eliminate Data On Job Creators (huffingtonpost.com)
- On the Census’ Mobility Report (rortybomb.wordpress.com)
- New census numbers show meager growth for Ohio (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Mapping the 2010 U.S. Census – NYTimes.com (mvzgis.wordpress.com)
- Recession Drives Up Concentrated Poverty in America’s Suburbs (zerohedge.com)
- New census method puts US poor at 49.1 million (alternet.org)
- The New Metro Minority Map: Regional Shifts in Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks from Census 2010 (bespacific.com)
- Census: Hispanics Fuel US White Population Growth (abcnews.go.com)
- Ending the U.K. Census: Move Could Impact Policy, Budget (time.com)
- Whites become minority in America (rt.com)
- Poverty threshold rises, but more people are poor, in new Census measure (dailykos.com)
- Census Bureau Admits Homosexuals Less Than 1% of U.S. Households (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
Health Data Tools and Statistics on PHPartners.org | Health Information Literacy – for health and well being
The following was posted on the BHIC Blog; Sep 11, 2011 10:26 PM by Cheryl Rowan
Do some statistically laden advertisements and Web sites seem misleading? Is there a disconnect between the displayed data in some ads with your gut feelings? But you just cannot put your finger on why you feel distrustful?
Just plain sloppily represented infographics could be creating some of the confusion. Infographic combines an interesting graphical element with hard data. They are commonly seen in the media, including USA Today.
Here are some excerpts from An Epidemic of Bad Infograhics: Depression
In an effort to keep trying to get people’s attention in an increasingly attention-deficit world, we get a lot of inquiries for links to websites promoting education programs and other affiliate websites. The latest effort is focused around “infographics,” those graphics made popular by the USA Todaynewspaper that combines an interesting graphical element with hard data. A well done infographic ostensibly makes data more engaging. A fantastic infographic puts data into proper perspective and gives it valuable context.
What these marketing firms send me, however, are not fantastic or even well-done. So in the interests of demonstrating that any infographic can be worse than no infographic, I’m going to critique one of the latest ones to have come across my desk. It’s about depression, one of the most common and serious mental disorders….
What about your level of depression? Well, according to the infographic — but not the research or mental health professionals — you can have different “depression levels” ranging from “Normal” (what’s a “Normal” depression?) to “Situational” or even “Major.”
Of course, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-IV) doesn’t divide major depression in this manner. Instead, it specifies that major depression can be Mild, Moderate, Severe without Psychotic Features, Severe with Psychotic Features, In Partial Remission, In Full Remission, or Chronic.
I assume “Situational” refers to a completely different mental disorder — Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood. The person designing this graphic was obviously not too familiar with the actual information he was asked to illustrate……
Related Health Information Evaluation Resources
- Evaluating Health Information on the Internet summarizes tips and pointers
- Consumer’s Guide to Taking Charge of Health Information has 10 tips, including how to interpret risk statements, a “reliability chart”, and where to get more information. Bonus feature: snappy cartoons!
- Evaluating Health Information on the Internet by the US National Cancer Institute summarizes 10 key points. Links to related federal agencies
- Evaluating Health Information: MedlinePlus provides trusted links to overviews, specific conditions (as cancer and complementary medicine), organizations, and more
- Quackwatch is physician published guide to health fraud including 23 hot topics (as immunization,autism, homeopathy, chiropractic). While the site is a bit controversial, it does have useful information and links.
- National Council Against Health Fraud is a private nonprofit, voluntary health agency that focuses upon health misinformation, fraud, and quackery as public health problems
- patientInform is a collaborative effort of health care related professionals who interpret research articles, in the form of summaries or news items.
- What to look for when reading medical research outlines the different types of scientific studies and which ones are the best
- Participating organizations provides links to news items from over 25 publishers and organizations. “The publishers allow readers following links from patientINFORM material on the health organizations’ sites to access the full text of these articles without a subscription, and they provide patients and caregivers with free or reduced-fee access to other articles in participating journals.”
Related Statistics Resources
- Guide to Biostatistics (MedPage Today) is a bit technical, but a good introduction to biostatistical terms used in medical research
- Misleading Statistical Information in Ads: A Drug Ad Analyzed and Related Evaluation Resources (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Misleading information on health social sites (and tips on how to evaluate health/medical information) (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Women And Prescription Drugs: One In Four Takes Mental Health Meds (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- 1 in 5 of U.S. adults on behavioral meds (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- Ethical Implications of the Use of Data and Statistics (lynnmunoz.wordpress.com)
- Information Designers (fusionfinds.wordpress.com)
- 1 in 5 Adults on Behavioral Meds (abcnews.go.com)
- How our society breeds anxiety, depression and dysfunction (salon.com)
State fact sheets provide information on population, income, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each State in the United States. Links to county-level data are included when available.
Data last updated on April 28, 2011.