Giving an outlet helps everybody

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/06/the-effect-of-adult-entertainment-establishments-on-sex-crime.html

Tay Tay linked to an interesting paper. It’s on sex work and whether adult establishments increase crime.

From the paper:

We find that these businesses decrease sex crime by 13% per police precinct one week after the opening, and have no effect on other types of crimes. The results imply that the reduction is mostly driven by potential sex offenders frequenting these establishments rather than committing crimes.

It seems that giving a legal outlet cuts down on crime. Don’t have negative externalities other than our values. Can’t help but see a link to legalized weed.

They also write in the abstract:

We also rule out the possibility that other mechanisms are driving our results, such as an increase in the number of police officers, a reduction in the number of street prostitutes and a possible reduction in the number of potential victims in areas where these businesses opened. The effects are robust to using alternative measures of sex crimes.

What accounts for an adult establishment I hear you ask?

The New York State Department of State classifies adult entertainment establishments as businesses that regularly feature movies, photographs, or live performances that emphasize ”specified anatomical areas” or ”specified sexual activities” and excludes minors by reason of age. We define such businesses more narrowly, only considering four types – strip clubs, gentleman’s clubs, adult entertainers and escort girl services.

The italics are mine because it’s a funny sentence.

Sniffing Out New Friends: Similarity in Body-Odor Predicts the Quality of Same-Sex None-Romantic Dyadic Interactions

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.06.14.448352v1

Abstract

Most are familiar with the notion of socially “clicking” with someone, namely sensing an immediate bond that can lead to strong and often long-lasting friendships. The mechanisms underlying such rapid bonding remain unclear. Given that body-odor similarity is a critical cue for social interaction in non-human mammals, we tested the hypothesis that body-odor similarly contributes to bonding in same-sex non-romantic human dyads. We observed that objective ratings obtained with an electronic nose, and subjective ratings obtained from human smellers, converged to suggest that click-friends smell more similar to each other than random dyads. Remarkably, we then found that we could use the electronic nose to predict which strangers would later form better dyadic interactions. Thus, humans may literally sniff-out new friends based on similarities in body-odor.

May I please sniff you? It’s for compatibility, I promise…

Urbanisation and the Onset of Modern Economic Growth | The Economic Journal | Oxford Academic

A large literature characterizes urbanisation as resulting from productivity growth attracting rural workers to cities. Incorporating economic geography elements into a growth model, we suggest that causation runs the other way: when rural workers move to cities, the resulting urbanisation produces technological change and productivity growth. Urban density leads to knowledge exchange and innovation, thus creating a positive feedback loop between city size and productivity that initiates sustained economic growth.

This jives with the Steven Johnson book that says how much more innovatition increases in big cities. People together is a powerful thing.

Good reads of the week #4

https://annagat.substack.com/p/on-remembering

Anna Gat with a 11 sentence essay this time on remembering.


https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/the-darkness

We are now in one of those times. The news headlines from around the world give us a continual stream of dark portents. Concentration camps and forced mass sterilization of minorities in China. Millions rendered stateless by a new law in India amid a retreat of secularism. A coup attempt and election denial as a normalized political strategy in America. Rising authoritarianism in Turkey, in Hungary, in Brazil, in the Philippines, in Israel. Protesters massacred in Myanmar, massacred in Iran, suppressed in Belarus, suppressed in Hong Kong. Mass surveillance everywhere. Internet shutdowns. “Anti-terrorism” laws.

But headlines are just anecdotes. Unfortunately data tells the same story.

There is a Darkness creeping over our world.


https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/the-rise-and-fall-of-online-culture

The article as a whole is a deep dive into internet culture and what influences it. How it evolves and ebbs and flows.

Quentin Bell’s theory of fashion-as-signaling. Bell says: cool people keep trying to come up with some external signal they can use to identify themselves as cool. Uncool people keep trying to copy the signal so they can look cool too. After a while, so many uncool people are using the signal that it’s no longer a good identifier of coolness, and so cool people need to switch to a new signal. Thus the fashion cycle and its constant changes.

This only works when information propagates slowly. If the Coolness Czar went on national TV and announced that this year’s fashionable color was red, then everyone, cool or uncool, would be equally likely to wear red, and the signal would be useless. So fashion has to be vague and complicated and gradual. It has to start with a core of trendsetters who are super-cool but hard to identify in advance. It has to be the sort of thing that only a few people close to the trendsetters will notice and copy. And then it has to spread gradually along the social graph, from the super-cool trendsetters to their mostly-cool friends to their kind-of-cool friends and so on. It has to be the sort of thing where if a totally-uncool person with no social-graph-connection at all Googled “what is the current fashion” and then tried to ape it, they would get something wrong, or embarrass themselves, or look desperate and pathetic in the way immortalized by the “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme. This will at least buy the fashion a few years of lifespan as a vaguely-useful signal.


https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/i-will-not-eat-the-bugs

While we are on Scott Alexander

In order to produce a kilogram of bug-based food, you need about 10,000 bugs (mealworms weigh about 100 mg). On the one hand, bugs probably don’t matter much morally. On the other hand, 10,000 is a lot. If bugs had any moral value at all, factory-farming and killing 10,000 of them would be really bad.

Do bugs have moral value? Everyone will answer this question differently. I think of Shakespeare, who has his Jewish character Shylock argue for his own moral value like so:

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?

And don’t bugs have eyes, limbs, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, and passions? Don’t they eat the same food as us, especially if we forget to put it in the refrigerator? Aren’t they subject to the same diseases – malaria, Lyme, bubonic plague? Aren’t they healed by the same means? If you prick them, do they not bleed creepy black hemolymph? If you tickle them, do they not hiss? If you poison them, do they not die? And if you wrong them – say, by throwing a stone at a hornets’ nest – will they not revenge?

[…]all else being equal you should generally prefer getting the same quantity of meat by eating fewer larger animals (eg one cow) rather than many smaller animals (eg 100 chickens). Thinking about insect farming is useful to test this hypothesis at the limit and see if our moral intuitions hold up.


https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/sleep/

There is a global experiment conducted on over 1.5 billion people across 70 countries twice a year. You know of this experiment. It is called Daylight Saving Time. According to a study published in 2014 in the journal Open Heart that looked at more than 42,000 hospital admissions for heart attacks, in the spring, when we lose an hour of sleep, there is a 24 percent increase in heart attacks the next day.

The second benefit of REM dreaming is creativity. Consider my fellow Liverpudlian, Paul McCartney. His hit songs Yesterday and Let It Be both came to him by way of REM-inspired creativity.

Not to be outdone, the iconic opening guitar riff from the Rolling Stones’ bestseller Satisfaction was also gifted to lead guitarist Keith Richards when he was asleep. We can even turn to profound scientific discoveries like the construction of the periodic table, which came to Dmitri Mendeleev during a dream.


https://www.theverge.com/22526502/himalaya-histudios-notorious-llc-podcast-audio-hype-house

This is just a crazy story from end to end. A hype house for podcasting with shady business practices. This story isn’t finished.

In another story recounted by two sources, Vincer allegedly walked up to a group of people at Podcast Movement, another industry conference, in 2018 while wearing a fanny pack. He then asked if anyone wanted drugs, which these people believed were in the bag strapped to his waist.

UFOs or not, this should be a bigger deal

There are “objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are.”

Obama

Mr. Rubio said some of the unidentified aerial vehicles over U.S. bases possibly exhibited technologies not in the American arsenal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/23/us/politics/pentagon-ufo-harry-reid-navy.html

It’s been written a lot about now. Some say the new alien overlords are here, some say we don’t know and it’s most likely a reasonable explanation for this.

Wikipedia has a balanced sum up of the case.

What I don’t see covered enough is that no matter what this is, we don’t know. This is one of those Arthur C. Clarke situations – “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” We currently do not know what they are. If it’s another country they have technology far beyond the US military –
“is at least 100 to 1000 years ahead of the US arsenal.” says a former navy pilot.
That alone should make this a much bigger case?

60 Minutes did a piece on it


I want to believe

Put this music on before you read the quotes below.

“In my opinion, I think they were worried that it would panic the public so they started telling lies about it. And then I think they had to tell another lie to cover their first lie, now they don’t know how to get out of it. Now it’s going to be so embarrassing to admit that all these administrations have told so many untruths, it would be embarrassing getting out of it. There are a number of extraterrestrial vehicles out there cruising around.”

Gordon Cooper, Former NASA Astronaut

“There is abundant evidence that we are being contacted, that civilizations have been visiting us for a very long time. That their appearance is bizarre from any type of traditional materialistic western point of view. That these visitors use the technologies of consciousness, they use toroids, they use co-rotating magnetic disks for their propulsion systems, that seems to be a common denominator of the UFO phenomenon.”

Dr Brian O’Leary, Former NASA Astronaut

“Yes there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered. We are not alone in the universe, they have been coming here for a long time.”

Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Former NASA Astronaut

“The following year, on November 12, 1966, James Lovell and Edwin Aldrin in Gemini 12 also saw two UFOs at slightly over half a mile from the capsule. These were observed for quite some time and photographed repeatedly. The same happened to Frank Borman and James Lovell in Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968, and to Thomas Stafford and John Young aboard Apollo 10 on May 22, 1969. The UFOs showed up both during the orbit around the moon and on the homeward flight of Apollo 10.”

Maurice Chatelain, Apollo Communications Specialist
I Want to Believe

Performance pay and substance abuse

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/05/does-performance-pay-increase-alcohol-and-drug-use.html

Using US panel data on young workers, we demonstrate that those who receive performance pay are more likely to consume alcohol and illicit drugs. Recognizing that this likely reflects worker sorting, we first control for risk, ability, and personality proxies. We further mitigate sorting concerns by introducing worker fixed effects, worker-employer match fixed effects, and worker-employer-occupation match fixed effects. Finally, we present fixed effect IV estimates. All of these estimates continue to indicate a greater likelihood of substance use when a worker receives performance pay. The results support conjectures that stress and effort increase with performance pay and that alcohol and drug use is a coping mechanism for workers.