Category Archives: Mathematics

“Black Lives Matter”

Heather McDonald writes about the myths of the movement:

For starters, fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.

The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.

Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.

Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that blacks make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there.

Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force.

The Ferguson Effect is going to make life much worse in the black communities.

[Update a while later]

“Black Lives Matter is acting like a racist hate group. You can only imagine how the press would treat Tea Partiers or Trump supporters who acted this way.”

Yes. Oh, and hey remember those New Black Panthers that Eric Holder let off the hook after the case had been essentially won?

[Update a few minutes later]

The Justice Department laughed off the armed New Black Panther Party threat.

The administration also called ISIS the “Jayvee team.”

A Grand Solar Minimum

It may be happening:

The policy significance of this issue is clear: if we are headed to a mid-20th century solar minimum, or a Grand Solar Minimum for the next two centuries, this will offset greenhouse warming to some extent. The extent of the offset depends on whether climate sensitivity to CO2 is on the larger or smaller end of the range of estimates, and the magnitude of the solar impact. But the sign of the solar offset is becoming increasingly clear: towards cooling.

One of the reasons I’ve been skeptical about claims that carbon will be catastrophic is the willful insistence on ignoring the sun, and I can’t think of any reason to do it than because we don’t understand it, and therefore it can’t be included in the hysterical modeling, and it can’t fit the narrative. I continue to believe that what we don’t understand about climate is much greater than what we do.

[Update a few minutes later]

Is the dam bursting? Climate researchers who have previously denigrated solar activity as being insignificant are now warning of a new mini ice age.

I really have trouble taking any of this seriously.

The Brain

Is it computable?

Nicolelis is in a camp that thinks that human consciousness (and if you believe in it, the soul) simply can’t be replicated in silicon. That’s because its most important features are the result of unpredictable, nonlinear interactions among billions of cells, Nicolelis says.

“You can’t predict whether the stock market will go up or down because you can’t compute it,” he says. “You could have all the computer chips ever in the world and you won’t create a consciousness.”

I’m personally an agnostic on the issue.