more on: policing

UP Links 31 July 2013

+ Kari Kohn

The Economist on the Rise of Local Music Consumption

By 1985, consumers spent as much time listening to foreign bands as they did domestic groups. But from the low point of the mid-1980s the picture changed. We have now reached a level of domestic consumption not seen for 50 years, with 70% of listening time devoted to domestic tunes. People increasingly seem to prefer domestic repertoire to foreign fare.Why is this? Improved communication networks make a big—and counterintuitive—difference. People might assume that the internet would make consumers’ music choices more global. But the spread of the internet has actually enabled the dissemination of local music within countries more than it has increased the availability and consumption of foreign music. Mark Ellen, a music journalist who co-presented Live Aid in 1985, is not surprised. “Part of the folklore of pop music is the magical soap opera of the cast involved. You’re more likely to find that with local bands in ascent whose story you can follow first-hand than with established acts the rest of the world is watching,” he says.

Dr. Robert Pearl for Forbes on "Doctors vs. Technologists"

Vinod is right in that a century from now people will laugh at much of what we call “modern medicine” today, just as we now look down on past practices as witchcraft. Moreover, he understands how rapidly knowledge is accumulating. He correctly points out that doctors without computers can’t keep up with the most up-to-date approaches.At the same time, Abraham is correct that medicine can’t be based on data and algorithms alone. Trust is what enables a doctor to help a patient cope with chronic disease or to engage in end-of-life discussions. And trust is dependent on human relationships.

Escalator Etiquette 

Most escalators across the world that do have a standing/walking system follow the “walk on the left” custom, to speed up the flow. One of the exceptions is Australia, where people walk on the right.It’s interesting that so many countries walk left, says Galea, but no-one’s quite sure why. “It could be a random effect, it could be a copy effect, or it could have something to do with the side of the road we drive on. It could be some kind of rationalisation based on this.”The British drive on the left and so choose to walk that side on escalators, he says, but in countries that drive on the right, the rationale could be that you drive on the right so you stand on the right.

The Economist on "Predictive Policing"

Intelligent policing can convert these modest gains into significant reductions in crime. Cops working with predictive systems respond to call-outs as usual, but when they are free they return to the spots which the computer suggests. Officers may talk to locals or report problems, like broken lights or unsecured properties, that could encourage crime....Predicting and forestalling crime does not solve its root causes. Positioning police in hotspots discourages opportunistic wrongdoing, but may encourage other criminals to move to less likely areas. And while data-crunching may make it easier to identify high-risk offenders—about half of American states use some form of statistical analysis to decide when to parole prisoners—there is little that it can do to change their motivation.
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