We could certainly talk about the Maine shooting. Otherwise I had this cued up:
This is so awful. This 37 year old man with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder goes missing back in March, and his mom looks for him frantically for the next five months. She's on the phone with the police department weekly.
It wasn't until 172 excruciating days after his disappearance that Bettersten learned the truth: Dexter had been killed less than an hour after he'd left home, struck by a Jackson police car as he crossed a nearby interstate highway. Police had known Dexter's name, and hers, but failed to contact her, instead letting his body go unclaimed for months in the county morgue.
Then it took until October for them to show her where they'd buried him.
The decision to call the police was difficult for Bettersten. She did not trust them. In 2019, her 62-year-old brother died after a Jackson officer slammed him to the ground. The officer was convicted of manslaughter but is appealing.
Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit accusing Jackson officers of excessive force and attempting to cover up their actions, and accusing the city of failing to properly train and supervise the officers. The city has denied the claims and said it isn't liable for what happened. The officers' lawyer said they acted responsibly and lawfully. A federal judge dismissed some of Bettersten's claims; others remain pending in state court.
It could be, but it's also easy for me to believe that this extremely racist, amoral police department can strike twice, independently.
Mossy Character writes: M. S. Swaminathan (1925-2023), leader of India's 'green revolution'
Heebie's take: This is a really nice profile!
He's the Melania of ending mass hunger.
I found this profile of El Chapo's wife really interesting.
Shall we talk about Trump's woes? We're up to three lawyers all pleading guilty. I'm no lawyer, but I think they are pleading guilty because they're actually guilty.
(Has Trump ever plead guilty to anything? I can't imagine his superego ever overpowering his id to let that happen.)
This cancer map of the US is interesting. You can choose all kinds of cancers, break out by different demographics, look at incidence or mortality, and lots of other choices.
Does anyone here work with GIS systems? I have a vague question I've been wondering. Suppose you have two quantities, A and B, and you want to see if they correlate over geography. I could certainly see if they correlate just by area unit, and not use any information about which area units are adjacent to which other ones. Is there a standard right way to improve the analysis and incorporate the adjacency graph of areal units?
There must be a whole lot of math/stats of GIS, but I don't know anything about it, or even what the topic is called. I know how it works in terms of the math of redistricting and gerrymandering, but I'm wondering about all the other applications of GIS.
Nick S. writes: This might make for a good conversation. Noah Smith writing on a topic that many here might agree with:
I'm far from the first person to sound the alarm about this. John DiIulio wrote a book in 2014 called Bring Back the Bureaucrats: Why More Federal Workers Will Lead to Better (and Smaller!) Government, which is the basis for many of the ideas in this post and others. More recently, Brink Lindsey of the Niskanen Center put out a great report in 2021 called "State Capacity: What Is It, How We Lost It, And How to Get It Back". A few excerpts from the executive summary:
And a recent paper by Maggie Shi finds that when the government monitors Medicare spending more closely, it reduces waste by a huge amount:
Every dollar Medicare spent on monitoring generated $24-29 in government savings. The majority of savings stem from the deterrence of future care, rather than reclaimed payments from prior care. I do not find evidence that the health of the marginal patient is harmed, indicating that monitoring primarily deters low-value care. Monitoring does increase provider administrative costs, but these costs are mostly incurred upfront and include investments in technology to assess the medical necessity of care....
I became painfully aware of the problems of a weak bureaucracy during the early days of the Covid pandemic. I started a group to help encourage state public health agencies to improve contact tracing -- an approach that ultimately proved futile due to hyper-infectious mutations. But back when the virus was less contagious and we still thought contact tracing might work, my partners and I had some meetings with government workers at the CDC. It was clear that they had absolutely no resources to commit to our project, and that they were overwhelmed with other demands.
Perhaps that's to be expected in the middle of a massive pandemic. But it was also clear that the CDC workers we talked to didn't know a lot of basic facts about how their organization worked; there was lots of data that they had no idea how to find, or even who was responsible for collecting it, and they had little concept of who was responsible for contact tracing at the state level. Those are things they should have known long before the pandemic even started.
I had no idea about the final anecdote.
Heebie's take: God yes. I'm so sick of every worthwhile organization being wildly understaffed.