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How Leaded Gasoline Caused Our Violent Crime Wave. January 5, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, health, Science & Technology.
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Starting in the 1960s, America saw a huge increase in levels of violent crime that peaked in the early 1990s, then steadily declined, and continues to decline today. All kinds of theories have been promulgated to explain this peak and decline in crime, and plenty of politicians in the 1990s took credit for it. Lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the ’40s and ’50s really were more likely to become violent criminals in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

And with that we have our molecule: tetraethyl lead, the gasoline additive invented by General Motors in the 1920s to prevent knocking and pinging in high-performance engines. As auto sales boomed after World War II, and drivers in powerful new cars increasingly asked service station attendants to “fill ‘er up with ethyl,” they were unwittingly creating a crime wave two decades later.

The use of lead pipes to carry water to wealthy neighLeadedCrimeWaveborhoods is claimed to be one major factor that contributed to the weakening and eventual destruction of the Roman Empire. At least we had the Science to discover our lead folly and correct it, even though much is to still be remediated. But the huge penal/judicial/police industrial complex budget justifications are threatened by such a simple crime source. Turns out criminologists were blaming the wrong Lead, when some accused the music of Led Zeppelin, among others.

via America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead | Mother Jones.

The US$465,000 Lexus LFA Nurburgring – the most expensive Japanese car ever May 27, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Sports, Technology.
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The decade long development campaign could not possibly be amortized effectively across just 500 cars – the LFA Nurburgring is a bargain, even at this price.  To which my wife, who loves a bargain, reminded me that her Birthday was coming up soon… 

via The US$465,000 Lexus LFA Nurburgring – the most expensive Japanese car ever.

Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder July 19, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Technology.
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John Ratey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and a specialist on the science of attention, explained that when people use digital devices, they get a quick burst of adrenaline, “a dopamine squirt.” Without it, people grow bored with simpler activities like driving. Mr. Ratey said the modern brain is being rewired to crave stimulation, a condition he calls acquired attention deficit disorder.

“We need that constant pizzazz, the reward, the intensity,” he said. He largely dismisses the argument that people need the time in the car to be productive. “The justification for doing work is just that — a justification to be engaged,” he said.

via Driven to Distraction – Dismissing the Risks of a Deadly Habit – Multitasking on the Road – Series – NYTimes.com.

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