Goliath Birdeater: Images of a Colossal Spider

FYI For Your Interest (01) feature

The Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi)

A spider belonging to the tarantula family Theraphosidae. Found in northern South America, it is the largest spider in the world. By leg-span, it is second to the giant huntsman spider, but it is the largest by body size and mass. It is also called the Goliath bird-eating spider; the practice of calling theraphosids “bird-eating” derives from an early 18th-century copper engraving by Maria Sibylla Merian that shows one eating a hummingbird. It only rarely preys on adult birds.1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_birdeater

Goliath Birdeater

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References   [ + ]

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_birdeater

Broken windows theory

The broken windows theory is a criminological theory of the norm-setting and signaling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior. The theory states that maintaining and monitoring urban environments to prevent small crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and toll-jumping helps to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes from happening.

The theory was introduced in a 1982 article by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling.1)Wilson & Kelling 1982. Since then it has been subject to great debate both within the social sciences and the public sphere. The theory has been used as a motivation for several reforms in criminal policy, including the controversial mass use of “stop, question, and frisk” by the New York City Police Department.

ARTICLE and CRIME PREVENTION

James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling first introduced the broken windows theory in an article titled Broken Windows, in the March 1982 The Atlantic Monthly.2)Wilson & Kelling 1982.

The title comes from the following example:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.

Before the introduction of this theory by Wilson and Kelling, Philip Zimbardo, a Stanford psychologist, arranged an experiment testing the broken-window theory in 1969. Zimbardo arranged for an automobile with no license plates and the hood up to be parked idle in a Bronx neighbourhood and a second automobile in the same condition to be set up in Palo Alto, California. The car in the Bronx was attacked within minutes of its abandonment. Zimbardo noted that the first “vandals” to arrive were a family – a father, mother and a young son – who removed the radiator and battery. Within twenty-four hours of its abandonment, everything of value had been stripped from the vehicle. After that, the car’s windows were smashed in, parts torn, upholstery ripped, and children were using the car as a playground. At the same time, the vehicle sitting idle in Palo Alto sat untouched for more than a week until Zimbardo himself went up to the vehicle and deliberately smashed it with a sledgehammer. Soon after, people joined in for the destruction. Zimbardo observed that a majority of the adult “vandals” in both cases were primarily well dressed, Caucasian, clean-cut and seemingly respectable individuals. It is believed that, in a neighborhood such as the Bronx where the history of abandoned property and theft are more prevalent, vandalism occurs much more quickly as the community generally seems apathetic. Similar events can occur in any civilized community when communal barriers—the sense of mutual regard and obligations of civility—are lowered by actions that suggest apathy.3)Wilson & Kelling 1982.

The article received a great deal of attention and was very widely cited. A 1996 criminology and urban sociology book, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George L. Kelling and Catharine Coles, is based on the article but develops the argument in greater detail. It discusses the theory in relation to crime and strategies to contain or eliminate crime from urban neighborhoods.4)Kelling, George; Coles, Catherine, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities, ISBN 0-684-83738-2.

A successful strategy for preventing vandalism, according to the book’s authors, is to address the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, a day or a week, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems are less likely to escalate and thus “respectable” residents do not flee the neighborhood.

Though police work is crucial to crime prevention, Oscar Newman, in his 1972 book, Defensible Space, wrote that the presence of police authority is not enough to maintain a safe and crime-free city. People in the community help with crime prevention. Newman proposes that people care for and protect spaces they feel invested in, arguing that an area is eventually safer if the people feel a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the area. Broken windows and vandalism are still prevalent because communities simply do not care about the damage. Regardless of how many times the windows are repaired, the community still must invest some of their time to keep it safe. Residents’ negligence of broken window-type decay signifies a lack of concern for the community. Newman says this is a clear sign that the society has accepted this disorder—allowing the unrepaired windows to display vulnerability and lack of defense.5)Newman, Oscar, Defensible Space: Crime Prevention Through Urban Design, ISBN 0-02-000750-7. Malcolm Gladwell also relates this theory to the reality of NYC in his book The Tipping Point.6)Gladwell, The tipping point

The theory thus makes two major claims: that further petty crime and low-level anti-social behavior is deterred, and that major crime is prevented as a result. Criticism of the theory has tended to focus disproportionately on the latter claim.

INFORMAL SOCIAL CONTROLS

Many claim that informal social controls can be an effective strategy to reduce unruly behavior. Garland 2001 expresses that “community policing measures in the realization that informal social control exercised through everyday relationships and institutions is more effective than legal sanctions”.7)Garland 2001. Informal social control methods, has demonstrated a “get tough” attitude by proactive citizens, and expresses a sense that disorderly conduct is not tolerated. According to Wilson and Kelling, there are two types of groups involved in maintaining order, ‘community watchmen’ and ‘vigilantes’8)Wilson & Kelling 1982. The United States has adopted in many ways policing strategies of old European times, and at that time informal social control was the norm, which gave rise to contemporary formal policing. Though, in earlier times, there were no legal sanctions to follow, informal policing was primarily ‘objective’ driven as stated by Wilson and Kelling (1982).

Wilcox et al. 2004 argue that improper land use can cause disorder, and the larger the public land is, the more susceptible to criminal deviance.9)Wilcox et al. 2004, p. 186. Therefore, nonresidential spaces such as businesses, may assume to the responsibility of informal social control “in the form of surveillance, communication, supervision, and intervention.”10)Wilcox et al. 2004, p. 187. It is expected that more strangers occupying the public land creates a higher chance for disorder. Jane Jacobs can be considered one of the original pioneers of this perspective of broken windows. Much of her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities focuses on residents’ and nonresidents’ contributions to maintaining order on the street, and explains how local businesses, institutions, and convenience stores provide a sense of having “eyes on the street.”11)Jacobs 1961.

On the contrary, many residents feel that regulating disorder is not their responsibility. Wilson and Kelling found that studies done by psychologists suggest people often refuse to go to the aid of someone seeking help, not due to a lack of concern or selfishness “but the absence of some plausible grounds for feeling that one must personally accept responsibility”12)Wilson & Kelling 1982. On the other hand, others plainly refuse to put themselves in harm’s way, depending on how grave they perceive the nuisance to be; a 2004 study observed that “most research on disorder is based on individual level perceptions decoupled from a systematic concern with the disorder-generating environment.”13)Sampson & Raudenbush 2004, p. 319. Essentially, everyone perceives disorder differently, and can contemplate seriousness of a crime based on those perceptions. However, Wilson and Kelling feel that although community involvement can make a difference, “the police are plainly the key to order maintenance.”14)Wilson & Kelling 1982.

CONCEPT of FEAR

Ranasinghe argues that the concept of fear is a crucial element of broken windows theory, because it is the foundation of the theory.15)Ranasinghe 2012, p. 65. She also adds that public disorder is “…unequivocally constructed as problematic because it is a source of fear.”16)Ranasinghe 2012, p. 67. Fear is elevated as perception of disorder rises; creating a social pattern that tears the social fabric of a community, and leaves the residents feeling hopeless and disconnected. Wilson and Kelling hint at the idea, but don’t focus on its central importance. They indicate that fear was a product of incivility, not crime, and that people avoid one another in response to fear, weakening controls.17)Wilson & Kelling 1982. Hinkle and Weisburd found that police interventions to combat minor offenses, as per the broken windows model, “significantly increased the probability of feeling unsafe,” suggesting that such interventions might offset any benefits of broken windows policing in terms of fear reduction.18)Hinkle & Weisburd 2008.

CRITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

In an earlier publication of The Atlantic released March, 1982, Wilson wrote an article indicating that police efforts had gradually shifted from maintaining order to fighting crime.19)Wilson & Kelling 1982. This indicated that order maintenance was something of the past, and soon it would seem as it has been put on the back burner. The shift was attributed to the rise of the social urban riots of the 1960s, and “social scientists began to explore carefully the order maintenance function of the police, and to suggest ways of improving it—not to make streets safer (its original function) but to reduce the incidence of mass violence”.20)Wilson & Kelling 1982. Other criminologists argue between similar disconnections, for example, Garland argues that throughout the early and mid 20th century, police in American cities strived to keep away from the neighborhoods under their jurisdiction.21)Garland 2001. This is a possible indicator of the out-of-control social riots that were prevalent at that time. Still many would agree that reducing crime and violence begins with maintaining social control/order.

Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities is discussed in detail by Ranasinghe, and its importance to the early workings of broken windows, and claims that Kelling’s original interest in “minor offences and disorderly behaviour and conditions” was inspired by Jacobs’ work.22)Ranasinghe 2012, p. 68. Ranasinghe includes that Jacobs’ approach toward social disorganization was centralized on the “streets and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city” and that they “are its most vital organs, because they provide the principal visual scenes.”23)Jacobs 1961, p. 378. Wilson and Kelling, as well as Jacobs, argue on the concept of civility (or the lack thereof) and how it creates lasting distortions between crime and disorder. Ranasinghe explains that the common framework of both set of authors is to narrate the problem facing urban public places. Jacobs, according to Ranasinghe, maintains that “Civility functions as a means of informal social control, subject little to institutionalized norms and processes, such as the law” ‘but rather maintained through an’ “intricate, almost unconscious, network of voluntary controls and standards among people… and enforced by the people themselves”24)Ranasinghe 2012, p. 72.

THEORETICAL EXPLANATION

The reason the state of the urban environment may affect crime may be three factors:

social norms and conformity,
the presence or lack of routine monitoring, and
social signaling and signal crime.
In an anonymous, urban environment, with few or no other people around, social norms and monitoring are not clearly known. Individuals thus look for signals within the environment as to the social norms in the setting and the risk of getting caught violating those norms; one of the signals is the area’s general appearance.

Under the broken windows theory, an ordered and clean environment, one that is maintained, sends the signal that the area is monitored and that criminal behavior is not tolerated. Conversely, a disordered environment, one that is not maintained (broken windows, graffiti, excessive litter), sends the signal that the area is not monitored and that criminal behavior has little risk of detection.

The theory assumes that the landscape “communicates” to people. A broken window transmits to criminals the message that a community displays a lack of informal social control and so is unable or unwilling to defend itself against a criminal invasion. It is not so much the actual broken window that is important but the message the broken window sends to people. It symbolizes the community’s defenselessness and vulnerability and represents the lack of cohesiveness of the people within. Neighborhoods with a strong sense of cohesion fix broken windows and assert social responsibility on themselves, effectively giving themselves control over their space.

The theory emphasizes the built environment, but must also consider human behavior.25)Herbert & Brown 2006.

Under the impression that a broken window left unfixed leads to more serious problems, residents begin to change the way they see their community. In an attempt to stay safe, a cohesive community starts to fall apart, as individuals start to spend less time in communal space to avoid potential violent attacks by strangers.26)Wilson & Kelling 1982. The slow deterioration of a community as a result of broken windows modifies the way people behave when it comes to their communal space, which, in turn, breaks down community control. As rowdy teenagers, drunks, panhandlers, addicts, and prostitutes slowly make their way into a community, it signifies that the community cannot assert informal social control, and citizens become afraid of that worse things will happen. As a result, they spend less time in the streets to avoid these subjects and feel less and less connected from their community if the problems persist.

At times, residents tolerate “broken windows” because they feel they belong in the community and “know their place.” Problems, however, arise when outsiders begin to disrupt the community’s cultural fabric. That is the difference between “regulars” and “strangers” in a community. The way that”regulars” act represents the culture within, but strangers are “outsiders” who do not belong.27)Herbert & Brown 2006.

Consequently, what were considered “normal” daily activities for residents now become uncomfortable, as the culture of the community carries a different feel from the way that it was once.

With regard to social geography, the broken windows theory is a way of explaining people and their interactions with space. The culture of a community can deteriorate and change over time with the influence of unwanted people and behaviors changing the landscape. The theory can be seen as people shaping space as the civility and attitude of the community create spaces, used for specific purposes by residents. On the other hand, it can also be seen as space shaping people with elements of the environment influencing and restricting day-to-day decision making.

However, with policing efforts to remove unwanted disorderly people that put fear in the public’s eyes, the argument would seem to be in favor of “people shaping space” as public policies are enacted and help to determine how one is supposed to behave. All spaces have their own codes of conduct, and what is considered to be right and normal will vary from place to place.

The concept also takes into consideration spatial exclusion and social division as certain people behaving in a given way are considered disruptive and therefore unwanted. It excludes people from certain spaces because their behavior does not fit the class level of the community and its surroundings. A community has its own standards and communicates a strong message to criminals, by social control, that their neighborhood does not tolerate their behavior. If however, a community unable to ward off would-be criminals on their own, policing efforts help.

By removing unwanted people from the streets, the residents feel safer and have a higher regard for those that protect them. People of less civility who try to make a mark in the community are removed, according to the theory.28)Herbert & Brown 2006. Excluding the unruly and people of certain social statuses is an attempt to keep the balance and cohesiveness of a community.

SUPPORT for THEORY

New York City: One of the authors of the book Broken Windows, George L. Kelling, was hired as a consultant to the New York City Transit Authority in 1985, and measures to test the broken windows theory were implemented by David L. Gunn. The presence of graffiti was intensively targeted, and the subway system was cleaned in a special effort from 1984 to 1990. Kelling has also been hired as a consultant to the Boston Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.

In 1990, William J. Bratton became head of the New York City Transit Police. Bratton described Kelling as his “intellectual mentor” and implemented zero tolerance of fare-dodging, faster arrestee processing methods, and background checks on all those arrested. After his election as Mayor of New York City in 1993, Republican Rudy Giuliani hired Bratton as his police commissioner to implement the strategy more widely across the city, under the rubrics of “quality of life” and “zero tolerance.” Influenced heavily by Kelling and Wilson’s article, Giuliani was determined to put the theory into action. He set out to prove that despite New York’s infamous image of being “too big, too unruly, too diverse, too broke to manage,” the city was, in fact, manageable.29)Adams, Joan (2006), The “Broken Windows” Theory, Canada: UBC, (subscription required (help).

Giuliani’s zero-tolerance program was part of an interlocking set of wider reforms, crucial parts of which had been underway since 1985. Bratton had the police more strictly enforce the law against subway fare evasion, public drinking, public urination, graffiti vandals, and the squeegee men, who had been wiping windshields of stopped cars and aggressively demanding payment. Initially, Bratton was criticized for going after “petty” crimes. The general complaint about this policy was why panhandlers, hookers, or graffiti artists should be dealt with when there were more serious crimes to be dealt with.

The main notion of the broken window theory is that small crimes can make way for larger crimes. If the petty criminals are often overlooked and given tacit permission to do what they want, their level of criminality might escalate to more serious offenses. Bratton’s goal was to attack while the offenders are still starting to prevent more serious crime.30)Adams, Joan (2006), The “Broken Windows” Theory, Canada: UBC, (subscription required (help). According to the 2001 study of crime trends in New York City by Kelling and William Sousa,31)Corman, Hope (Jun 2002), Carrots, Sticks and Broken Windows (PDF), Washington, (subscription required (help). rates of both petty and serious crime fell suddenly and significantly and continued to drop for the following ten years.

However, some later research strongly suggested that there was no benefit from the targeting of petty crime.32)Ludwig, Jens (2006), Broken windows (PDF), U Chicago. The crime reduction may have been a result of the decrease of crime across the United States and other factors, like the 39% drop in New York City’s unemployment rate.33)“Criticism for Giuliani’s broken windows theory”, Business insider, Aug 2013.

Albuquerque: Similar success occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the late 1990s with its Safe Streets Program. Operating under the theory that American Westerners use roadways much in the same way that American Easterners use subways, the developers of the program reasoned that lawlessness on the roadways had much the same effect as it did on the New York City Subway. Effects of the program were extensively reviewed by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and were published in a case study.34)Albuquerque Police Department’s Safe streets program, US: Department of Transportation – NHTSA, DOT HS 809 278.

Lowell, Massachusetts: In 2005, Harvard University and Suffolk University researchers worked with local police to identify 34 “crime hot spots” in Lowell, Massachusetts. In half of the spots, authorities cleared trash, fixed streetlights, enforced building codes, discouraged loiterers, made more misdemeanor arrests, and expanded mental health services and aid for the homeless. In the other half of the identified locations, there was no change to routine police service.

The areas that received additional attention experienced a 20% reduction in calls to the police. The study concluded that cleaning up the physical environment was more effective than misdemeanor arrests and that increasing social services had no effect.35)“Research Boosts Broken Windows”. Suffolk University. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 36)Johnson, Carolyn Y (2009-02-08). “Breakthrough on ‘broken windows'”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-02-20.

Netherlands: In 2007 and 2008, Kees Keizer and colleagues from the University of Groningen conducted a series of controlled experiments to determine if the effect of existing visible disorder (such as litter or graffiti) increased other crime such as theft, littering, or other antisocial behavior. They selected several urban locations, which they arranged in two different ways, at different times. In one condition, the control, the place was maintained orderly and kept free from graffiti, broken windows, etc. In the other condition, the experiment, exactly the same environment was arranged to look as if nobody monitored it and cared about it: windows were broken and graffiti painted on the walls, among other things. The researchers then secretly monitored the locations to observe if people behaved differently when the environment was disordered. Their observations supported the theory. The conclusion was published in the journal Science:

One example of disorder, like graffiti or littering, can indeed encourage another, like stealing.37)Keizer, K; Lindenberg, S; Steg, L (2008). “The Spreading of Disorder”. Science. 322 (5908): 1681–1685. doi:10.1126/science.1161405. PMID 19023045. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 38)Can the can“. The Economist. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-11-24.

OTHER ADVANTAGES

Real estate

Other side effects of better monitoring and cleaned up streets may well be desired by governments or housing agencies and the population of a neighborhood: broken windows can count as an indicator of low real estate value and may deter investors. Fixing windows is therefore also a step of real estate development, which may lead, whether it is desired or not, to gentrification. By reducing the amount of broken windows in the community, the inner cities would appear to be attractive to consumers with more capital. Ridding spaces like downtown New York and Chicago, notably notorious for criminal activity, of danger would draw in investment from consumers, increasing the city’s economic status, providing a safe and pleasant image for present and future inhabitants.39)Harcourt, Bernard L; Ludwig, Jens. “Broken Windows: New Evidence from New York City and a Five-City Social Experiment” (PDF).

Education

In education, the broken windows theory is used to promote order in classrooms and school cultures. The belief is that students are signaled by disorder or rule-breaking and that they in turn imitate the disorder. Several school movements encourage strict paternalistic practices to enforce student discipline. Such practices include language codes (governing slang, curse words, or speaking out of turn), classroom etiquette (sitting up straight, tracking the speaker), personal dress (uniforms, little or no jewelry), and behavioral codes (walking in lines, specified bathroom times). Several schools have made significant strides in educational gains with this philosophy such as the Knowledge Is Power Program[citation needed] and American Indian Public Charter School.[citation needed]

From 2004 to 2006, Stephen B. Plank and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University conducted a correlational study to determine the degree to which the physical appearance of the school and classroom setting influence student behavior, particularly in respect to the variables concerned in their study: fear, social disorder, and collective efficacy.40)Plank, Stephen B; Bradshaw, Catherine P; Young, Hollie (1 February 2009). “An Application of “Broken‐Windows” and Related Theories to the Study of Disorder, Fear, and Collective Efficacy in Schools”. American Journal of Education. 115 (2): 227–47. doi:10.1086/595669. They collected survey data administered to 6th-8th students by 33 public schools in a large mid-Atlantic city. From analyses of the survey data, the researchers determined that the variables in their study are statistically significant to the physical conditions of the school and classroom setting. The conclusion, published in the American Journal of Education, was

…the findings of the current study suggest that educators and researchers should be vigilant about factors that influence student perceptions of climate and safety. Fixing broken windows and attending to the physical appearance of a school cannot alone guarantee productive teaching and learning, but ignoring them likely greatly increases the chances of a troubling downward spiral.41)Plank, Stephen B; Bradshaw, Catherine P; Young, Hollie (1 February 2009). “An Application of “Broken‐Windows” and Related Theories to the Study of Disorder, Fear, and Collective Efficacy in Schools”. American Journal of Education. 115 (2): 227–47. doi:10.1086/595669.

CRITICISM of THEORY

Other factors

Many critics state that factors other than physical disorder more significantly influence crime rate. They argue that efforts to more effectively reduce crime rate should target or pay more attention to such factors instead.

According to a study by Robert J. Sampson and Stephen Raudenbush, the premise on which the theory operates, that social disorder and crime are connected as part of a causal chain, is faulty. They argue that a third factor, collective efficacy, “defined as cohesion among residents combined with shared expectations for the social control of public space,” is the actual cause of varying crime rates that are observed in an altered neighborhood environment. They also argue that the relationship between public disorder and crime rate is weak.42)Sampson, Robert J.; Raudenbush, Stephen W (1 November 1999). “Systematic Social Observation of Public Spaces: A New Look at Disorder in Urban Neighborhoods”. American Journal of Sociology. 105 (3): 603–51. doi:10.1086/210356.

C. R. Sridhar, in his article in the Economic and Political Weekly, also challenges the broken windows policing and the notion introduced in the annotated by Kelling and Bratton: that aggressive policing, such as the zero tolerance police strategy adopted by William Bratton, the appointed commissioner of the New York Police Department, is the sole cause of the decrease of crime rates in New York City.43)Sridhar, C.R. (13–19 May 2006). “Broken Windows and Zero Tolerance: Policing Urban Crimes”. Economic and Political Weekly. 41 (19): 1841–43. JSTOR 4418196. The policy targeted people in areas with a significant amount of physical disorder and there appeared to be a causal relationship between the adoption of the aggressive policy and the decrease in crime rate. Sridhar, however, discusses other trends (such as New York City’s economic boom in the late 1990s) that created a “perfect storm” that contributed to the decrease of crime rate much more significantly than the application of the zero tolerance policy. Sridhar also compares this decrease of crime rate with other major cities that adopted other various policies and determined that the zero tolerance policy is not as effectual.

Baltimore criminologist Ralph B. Taylor argues in his book that fixing windows is only a partial and short-term solution. His data supports a materialist view: changes in levels of physical decay, superficial social disorder, and racial composition do not lead to higher crime, but economic decline does. He contends that the example shows that real, long-term reductions in crime require that urban politicians, businesses, and community leaders work together to improve the economic fortunes of residents in high-crime areas.44)Ralph B. Taylor. Breaking Away from Broken Windows: Baltimore Neighborhoods and the Nationwide Fight Against Crime, Grime, Fear, and Decline. ISBN 0813397588

Another tack was taken by a 2010 study questioning the legitimacy of the theory concerning the subjectivity of disorder as perceived by persons living in neighborhoods. It concentrated on whether citizens view disorder as a separate issue from crime or as identical to it. The study noted that crime cannot be the result of disorder if the two are identical, agreed that disorder provided evidence of “convergent validity” and concluded that broken windows theory misinterprets the relationship between disorder and crime.45)Gau & Pratt 2010.

In recent years, there has been increasing attention on the correlation between environmental lead levels and crime. Specifically, there appears to be a correlation with a 25-year lag with the addition and removal of lead from paint and gasoline and rises and falls in murder arrests.46)Lucifer Curves Archived February 25, 2015, at the Wayback Machine., Rick Nevin, 22 Feb 2015 47)America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead, Mother Jones, January/February 2013 Issue, Kevin Drum

Implicit bias

Robert J. Sampson argues that based on common misconceptions by the masses, it is clearly implied that those who commit disorder and crime have a clear tie to groups suffering from financial instability and may be of minority status: “The use of racial context to encode disorder does not necessarily mean that people are racially prejudiced in the sense of personal hostility.” He notes that residents make a clear implication of who they believe is causing the disruption, which has been termed as implicit bias.48)Sampson & Raudenbush 2004, p. 320. He further states that research conducted on implicit bias and stereotyping of cultures suggests that community members hold unrelenting beliefs of African-Americans and other disadvantaged minority groups, associating them with crime, violence, disorder, welfare, and undesirability as neighbors.49)Sampson & Raudenbush 2004, p. 320. A later study indicated that this contradicted Wilson and Kelling’s proposition that disorder is an exogenous construct that has independent effects on how people feel about their neighborhoods.50)Gau & Pratt 2010.

Criminology

According to some criminologists who speak of a broader “backlash,”[a] the broken windows theory is not theoretically sound.51)Thacher, David (2004). “Order Maintenance Reconsidered: Moving beyond Strong Causal Reasoning” (PDF). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Northwestern University School of Law. 94 (2). doi:10.2307/3491374. They claim that the “broken windows theory” closely relates correlation with causality, a reasoning prone to fallacy. David Thacher, assistant professor of public policy and urban planning at the University of Michigan, stated in a 2004 paper:52)Thacher, David (2004). “Order Maintenance Reconsidered: Moving beyond Strong Causal Reasoning” (PDF). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Northwestern University School of Law. 94 (2). doi:10.2307/3491374.

[S]ocial science has not been kind to the broken windows theory. A number of scholars reanalyzed the initial studies that appeared to support it…. Others pressed forward with new, more sophisticated studies of the relationship between disorder and crime. The most prominent among them concluded that the relationship between disorder and serious crime is modest, and even that relationship is largely an artifact of more fundamental social forces.

It has also been argued that rates of major crimes also dropped in many other US cities during the 1990s, both those that had adopted zero-tolerance and those that had not.53)Harcourt, Bernard E (2001), Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken Windows Policing, Harvard, ISBN 0-674-01590-8. In the winter 2006 edition of the University of Chicago Law Review, Bernard Harcourt and Jens Ludwig looked at the later Department of Housing and Urban Development program that rehoused inner-city project tenants in New York into more-orderly neighborhoods.54)Harcourt, Bernard E; Ludwig, Jens (2006). “Broken Windows: New Evidence from New York City and a Five-City Social Experiment”. University of Chicago Law Review. 73. The broken windows theory would suggest that these tenants would commit less crime once moved because of the more stable conditions on the streets. However, Harcourt and Ludwig found that the tenants continued to commit crime at the same rate.

In a 2007 study called “Reefer Madness” in the journal Criminology and Public Policy, Harcourt and Ludwig found further evidence confirming that mean reversion fully explained the changes in crime rates in the different precincts in New York in the 1990s[citation needed]. Further alternative explanations that have been put forward include the waning of the crack epidemic,55)Metcalf, Stephen. “The Giuliani Presidency? A new documentary makes the case against the outsized mayor”. Retrieved 2007-09-03. unrelated growth in the prison population by the Rockefeller drug laws,56)Metcalf, Stephen. “The Giuliani Presidency? A new documentary makes the case against the outsized mayor”. Retrieved 2007-09-03. and that the number of males from 16 to 24 was dropping regardless of the shape of the US population pyramid.57)Levitt, Steven D.; Dubner, Stephen J (2005). Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York, NY: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-073132-X.

Drawbacks in practice

A low-level intervention of police in neighborhoods has been considered problematic. Accordingly, Gary Stewart wrote, “The central drawback of the approaches advanced by Wilson, Kelling, and Kennedy rests in their shared blindness to the potentially harmful impact of broad police discretion on minority communities.”58)Stewart 1998. It was seen by the authors, who worried that people would be arrested “for the ‘crime’ of being undesirable.” According to Stewart, arguments for low-level police intervention, including the broken windows hypothesis, often act “as cover for racist behavior.”59)Stewart 1998.

The application of the broken windows theory in aggressive policing policies, such as William Bratton’s zero-tolerance policy, has been shown to criminalize the poor and homeless. That is because the physical signs that characterize a neighborhood with the “disorder” that broken windows policing targets correlate with the socio-economic conditions of its inhabitants. Many of the acts that are considered legal but “disorderly” are often targeted in public settings and are not targeted when they are conducted in private. Therefore, those without access to a private space are often criminalized. Critics, such as Robert J. Sampson and Stephen Raudenbush of Harvard University, see the application of the broken windows theory in policing as a war against the poor, as opposed to a war against more serious crimes.60)Sampson & Raudenbush 2004.

In Dorothy Roberts’s article, “Foreword: Race, Vagueness, and the Social Meaning of Order Maintenance and Policing,” she focuses on problems of the application of the broken windows theory, which lead to the criminalization of communities of color, who are typically disfranchised.61)Johnson, Bruce D.; Golub, Andrew; McCabe, James (1 February 2010). “The international implications of quality‐of‐life policing as practiced in New York City”. Police Practice and Research. 11 (1): 17–29. doi:10.1080/15614260802586368. She underscores the dangers of vaguely written ordinances that allows for law enforcers to determine who engages in disorderly acts, which, in turn, produce a racially-skewed outcome in crime statistics.62)Roberts, Dorothy (Spring 1999). “Foreword: Race, Vagueness, and the Social Meaning of Order-Maintenance Policing”. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 3. 89: 775–836. doi:10.2307/1144123. JSTOR 1144123.

According to Bruce D. Johnson, Andrew Golub, and James McCabe, the application of the broken windows theory in policing and policymaking can result in development projects that decrease physical disorder but promote undesired gentrification. Often, when a city is so “improved” in this way, the development of an area can cause the cost of living to rise higher than residents can afford, which forces low-income people, often minorities, out of the area. As the space changes, the middle and upper classes, often white, begin to move into the area, resulting in the gentrification of urban, poor areas. The local residents are affected negatively by such an application of the broken windows theory and end up evicted from their homes as if their presence indirectly contributed to the area’s problem of “physical disorder.”63)ohnson, Bruce D.; Golub, Andrew; McCabe, James (1 February 2010). “The international implications of quality‐of‐life policing as practiced in New York City”. Police Practice and Research. 11 (1): 17–29. doi:10.1080/15614260802586368.

Popular press

In the best-seller More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, 2000), economist John Lott, Jr. examined the use of the broken windows approach as well as community- and problem-oriented policing programs in cities over 10,000 in population, over two decades. He found that the impacts of these policing policies were not very consistent across different types of crime. Lott’s book has been subject to criticism, but other groups support Lott’s conclusions.

In the best-seller Freakonomics, coauthors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner confirm and question the notion that the broken windows theory was responsible for New York’s drop in crime: “the reality that the pool of potential criminals had dramatically shrunk. Levitt had attributed that possibility in the Quarterly Journal of Economics to the legalization of abortion with Roe v. Wade, a decrease in the number of delinquents in the population at large, one generation later.64)Donohue; Levitt (2001), The impact of legalized abortion(PDF), U Chicago.

The theory was also mentioned in Blue Bloods, Season 6, Episode 16 “Help Me Help You” and Orange is the New Black, Season 4, Episode 5 “We’ll Always Have Baltimore”.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory

References   [ + ]

1, 2, 3, 8, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20, 26. Wilson & Kelling 1982.
4. Kelling, George; Coles, Catherine, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities, ISBN 0-684-83738-2.
5. Newman, Oscar, Defensible Space: Crime Prevention Through Urban Design, ISBN 0-02-000750-7.
6. Gladwell, The tipping point
7. Garland 2001.
9. Wilcox et al. 2004, p. 186.
10. Wilcox et al. 2004, p. 187.
11. Jacobs 1961.
13. Sampson & Raudenbush 2004, p. 319.
15. Ranasinghe 2012, p. 65.
16. Ranasinghe 2012, p. 67.
18. Hinkle & Weisburd 2008.
21. Garland 2001.
22. Ranasinghe 2012, p. 68.
23. Jacobs 1961, p. 378.
24. Ranasinghe 2012, p. 72.
25, 27, 28. Herbert & Brown 2006.
29, 30. Adams, Joan (2006), The “Broken Windows” Theory, Canada: UBC, (subscription required (help).
31. Corman, Hope (Jun 2002), Carrots, Sticks and Broken Windows (PDF), Washington, (subscription required (help).
32. Ludwig, Jens (2006), Broken windows (PDF), U Chicago.
33. “Criticism for Giuliani’s broken windows theory”, Business insider, Aug 2013.
34. Albuquerque Police Department’s Safe streets program, US: Department of Transportation – NHTSA, DOT HS 809 278.
35. “Research Boosts Broken Windows”. Suffolk University. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
36. Johnson, Carolyn Y (2009-02-08). “Breakthrough on ‘broken windows'”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
37. Keizer, K; Lindenberg, S; Steg, L (2008). “The Spreading of Disorder”. Science. 322 (5908): 1681–1685. doi:10.1126/science.1161405. PMID 19023045. Retrieved 2008-11-28.
38. Can the can“. The Economist. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
39. Harcourt, Bernard L; Ludwig, Jens. “Broken Windows: New Evidence from New York City and a Five-City Social Experiment” (PDF).
40, 41. Plank, Stephen B; Bradshaw, Catherine P; Young, Hollie (1 February 2009). “An Application of “Broken‐Windows” and Related Theories to the Study of Disorder, Fear, and Collective Efficacy in Schools”. American Journal of Education. 115 (2): 227–47. doi:10.1086/595669.
42. Sampson, Robert J.; Raudenbush, Stephen W (1 November 1999). “Systematic Social Observation of Public Spaces: A New Look at Disorder in Urban Neighborhoods”. American Journal of Sociology. 105 (3): 603–51. doi:10.1086/210356.
43. Sridhar, C.R. (13–19 May 2006). “Broken Windows and Zero Tolerance: Policing Urban Crimes”. Economic and Political Weekly. 41 (19): 1841–43. JSTOR 4418196.
44. Ralph B. Taylor. Breaking Away from Broken Windows: Baltimore Neighborhoods and the Nationwide Fight Against Crime, Grime, Fear, and Decline. ISBN 0813397588
45, 50. Gau & Pratt 2010.
46. Lucifer Curves Archived February 25, 2015, at the Wayback Machine., Rick Nevin, 22 Feb 2015
47. America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead, Mother Jones, January/February 2013 Issue, Kevin Drum
48, 49. Sampson & Raudenbush 2004, p. 320.
51, 52. Thacher, David (2004). “Order Maintenance Reconsidered: Moving beyond Strong Causal Reasoning” (PDF). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Northwestern University School of Law. 94 (2). doi:10.2307/3491374.
53. Harcourt, Bernard E (2001), Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken Windows Policing, Harvard, ISBN 0-674-01590-8.
54. Harcourt, Bernard E; Ludwig, Jens (2006). “Broken Windows: New Evidence from New York City and a Five-City Social Experiment”. University of Chicago Law Review. 73.
55, 56. Metcalf, Stephen. “The Giuliani Presidency? A new documentary makes the case against the outsized mayor”. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
57. Levitt, Steven D.; Dubner, Stephen J (2005). Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York, NY: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-073132-X.
58, 59. Stewart 1998.
60. Sampson & Raudenbush 2004.
61. Johnson, Bruce D.; Golub, Andrew; McCabe, James (1 February 2010). “The international implications of quality‐of‐life policing as practiced in New York City”. Police Practice and Research. 11 (1): 17–29. doi:10.1080/15614260802586368.
62. Roberts, Dorothy (Spring 1999). “Foreword: Race, Vagueness, and the Social Meaning of Order-Maintenance Policing”. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 3. 89: 775–836. doi:10.2307/1144123. JSTOR 1144123.
63. ohnson, Bruce D.; Golub, Andrew; McCabe, James (1 February 2010). “The international implications of quality‐of‐life policing as practiced in New York City”. Police Practice and Research. 11 (1): 17–29. doi:10.1080/15614260802586368.
64. Donohue; Levitt (2001), The impact of legalized abortion(PDF), U Chicago.

Australia: Electrical home wiring Cable: sold via Woolworths/Masters in “Huge recall” “could catch fire”

Starts at Sixty (60)
Infinity and Olsent-branded cable: sold primarily at Woolworths now defunct Masters stores “Huge recall after warnings electrical home wiring could catch fire”

The consumer watchdog (ACCC) is urging people to remove and return certain electrical wiring installed in their homes as it poses a major fire risk.

Infinity and Olsent-branded cable was sold to customers across the country in every state and territory except the Northern Territory, but has now been recalled after tests revealed its extremely low quality.

The cable was sold primarily at Woolworths now defunct Masters stores and was used to wire thousands of homes.

The wiring was first sold in 2010, meaning thousands of homes could be at risk now.

While some electricians have returned to properties where they installed the cable wire, others have been slow to do so meaning hundreds of homes remain at risk.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deputy chair Delia Rickard says people need to take immediate action if they think they might have the Infinity and Olsent-branded cable in their house.

“The experts tell us that in a worst-case scenario, the cable could become defective as soon as April this year,” Ms Rickard told the ABC.

“There’s a whole range of reasons we think why people haven’t taken action, it seems some suppliers and electricians are more proactive than others in terms of going out and trying to locate it, there’s issues with electricians having very poor records about where the cabling was installed,” Ms Rickard said.

“I think there may be a sense of complacency from some home owners that they have time on their side so they don’t need to contact their installer to check.”

Woolworths has issued a statement saying it is working with the ACCC to recall the cable and will refund anyone who returns it to their Masters stores.

“Woolworths has worked collaboratively with the ACCC regarding our part of the industry response to this recall. We have made good progress in refunding, remediating and identifying impacted customers,” she said.

“As part of its announcement to exit its home improvement business, Woolworths has said it will honour all Masters product warranties and returns.

“Customers who have had Infinity cabling installed should register their details through our.

Infinity Cable Consumer Hotline (1300 236 787) for assistance.”

Have you been affected by this recall? Will you be checking your home to see if you have this particular cable in your house?

source: startsat60.com

Related:

Infinity cables frequently asked questions | source: accc.gov.au

Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious?

FYI For Your Interest (01) feature

Flat Earth Society

Members of the Flat Earth Society claim to believe the Earth is flat. Walking around on the planet’s surface, it looks and feels flat, so they deem all evidence to the contrary, such as satellite photos of Earth as a sphere, to be fabrications of a “round Earth conspiracy” orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.

The belief that the Earth is flat has been described as the ultimate conspiracy theory. According to the Flat Earth Society’s leadership, its ranks have grown by 200 people (mostly Americans and Britons) per year since 2009.

Judging by the exhaustive effort flat-earthers have invested in fleshing out the theory on their website, as well as the staunch defenses of their views they offer in media interviews and on Twitter, it would seem that these people genuinely believe the Earth is flat.

The belief that the Earth is flat has been described as the ultimate conspiracy theory. According to the Flat Earth Society’s leadership, its ranks have grown by 200 people (mostly Americans and Britons) per year since 2009.

Judging by the exhaustive effort flat-earthers have invested in fleshing out the theory on their website, as well as the staunch defenses of their views they offer in media interviews and on Twitter, it would seem that these people genuinely believe the Earth is flat.

But in the 21st century, can they be serious? And if so, how is this psychologically possible?

Through a flat-earther’s eyes

First, a brief tour of the worldview of a flat-earther: While writing off buckets of concrete evidence that Earth is spherical, they readily accept a laundry list of propositions that some would call ludicrous. The leading flat-earther theory holds that Earth is a disc with the Arctic Circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150-foot-tall wall of ice, around the rim. NASA employees, they say, guard this ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc. Earth’s day and night cycle is explained by positing that the sun and moon are spheres measuring 32 miles (51 kilometers) that move in circles 3,000 miles (4,828 km) above the plane of the Earth. (Stars, they say, move in a plane 3,100 miles up.) Like spotlights, these celestial spheres illuminate different portions of the planet in a 24-hour cycle. Flat-earthers believe there must also be an invisible “antimoon” that obscures the moon during lunar eclipses.

Furthermore, Earth’s gravity is an illusion, they say. Objects do not accelerate downward; instead, the disc of Earth accelerates upward at 32 feet per second squared (9.8 meters per second squared), driven up by a mysterious force called dark energy. Currently, there is disagreement among flat-earthers about whether or not Einstein’s theory of relativity permits Earth to accelerate upward indefinitely without the planet eventually surpassing the speed of light. (Einstein’s laws apparently still hold in this alternate version of reality.)

As for what lies underneath the disc of Earth, this is unknown, but most flat-earthers believe it is composed of “rocks.” [Religion and Science: 6 Visions of Earth’s Core]

Then, there’s the conspiracy theory: Flat-earthers believe photos of the globe are photoshopped; GPS devices are rigged to make airplane pilotsthink they are flying in straight lines around a sphere when they are actually flying in circles above a disc. The motive for world governments’ concealment of the true shape of the Earth has not been ascertained, but flat-earthers believe it is probably financial. “In a nutshell, it would logically cost much less to fake a space program than to actually have one, so those in on the Conspiracy profit from the funding NASA and other space agencies receive from the government,” the flat-earther website’s FAQ page explains.

   It’s no joke   

The theory follows from a mode of thought called the “Zetetic Method,” an alternative to the scientific method, developed by a 19th-century flat-earther, in which sensory observations reign supreme. “Broadly, the method places a lot of emphasis on reconciling empiricism and rationalism, and making logical deductions based on empirical data,” Flat Earth Society vice president Michael Wilmore, an Irishman, told Life’s Little Mysteries. In Zetetic astronomy, the perception that Earth is flat leads to the deduction that it must actually be flat; the antimoon, NASA conspiracy and all the rest of it are just rationalizations for how that might work in practice.

Those details make the flat-earthers’ theory so elaborately absurd it sounds like a joke, but many of its supporters genuinely consider it a more plausible model of astronomy than the one found in textbooks. In short, they aren’t kidding. [50 Amazing Facts About Planet Earth]

“The question of belief and sincerity is one that comes up a lot,” Wilmore said. “If I had to guess, I would probably say that at least some of our members see the Flat Earth Society and Flat Earth Theory as a kind of epistemological exercise, whether as a critique of the scientific method or as a kind of ‘solipsism for beginners.’ There are also probably some who thought the certificate would be kind of funny to have on their wall. That being said, I know many members personally, and I am fully convinced of their belief.”

Wilmore counts himself among the true believers. “My own convictions are a result of philosophical introspection and a considerable body of data that I have personally observed, and which I am still compiling,” he said.

Strangely, Wilmore and the society’s president, a 35-year-old Virginia-born Londoner named Daniel Shenton, both think the evidence for global warming is strong, despite much of this evidence coming from satellite data gathered by NASA, the kingpin of the “round Earth conspiracy.” They also accept evolution and most other mainstream tenets of science.

Conspiracy theory psychology

As inconceivable as their belief system seems, it doesn’t really surprise experts. Karen Douglas, a psychologist at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom who studies the psychology of conspiracy theories, says flat-earthers’ beliefs cohere with those of other conspiracy theorists she has studied.

“It seems to me that these people do generally believe that the Earth is flat. I’m not seeing anything that sounds as if they’re just putting that idea out there for any other reason,” Douglas told Life’s Little Mysteries.

She said all conspiracy theories share a basic thrust: They present an alternative theory about an important issue or event, and construct an (often) vague explanation for why someone is covering up that “true” version of events. “One of the major points of appeal is that they explain a big event but often without going into details,” she said. “A lot of the power lies in the fact that they are vague.”

The self-assured way in which conspiracy theorists stick to their story imbues that story with special appeal. After all, flat-earthers are more adamant that the Earth is flat than most people are that the Earth is round (probably because the rest of us feel we have nothing to prove). “If you’re faced with a minority viewpoint that is put forth in an intelligent, seemingly well-informed way, and when the proponents don’t deviate from these strong opinions they have, they can be very influential. We call that minority influence,” Douglas said.

In a recent study, Eric Oliver and Tom Wood, political scientists at the University of Chicago, found that about half of Americans endorse at least one conspiracy theory, from the notion that 9/11 was an inside jobto the JFK conspiracy. “Many people are willing to believe many ideas that are directly in contradiction to a dominant cultural narrative,” Oliver told Life’s Little Mysteries. He says conspiratorial belief stems from a human tendency to perceive unseen forces at work, known as magical thinking. [Top Ten Unexplained Phenomena]

However, flat-earthers don’t fit entirely snugly in this general picture. Most conspiracy theorists adopt many fringe theories, even ones that contradict each other. Meanwhile, flat-earthers’ only hang-up is the shape of the Earth. “If they were like other conspiracy theorists, they should be exhibiting a tendency toward a lot of magical thinking, such as believing in UFOs, ESP, ghosts, the Devil, or other unseen, intentional forces,” Oliver wrote in an email. “It doesn’t sound like they do, which makes them very anomalous relative to most Americans who believe in conspiracy theories.”

October 26, 2012 | by Natalie Wolchover | Source: livescience.com "Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious?"

In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears – The New York Times

FYI For Your Interest (01) feature

Cash-Free

Bjorn Ulvaeus (Abba)

Bjorn Ulvaeus (Abba)

Bjorn Ulvaeus, a former member of the Swedish pop group Abba, whose latest entrepreneurial venture is a restaurant inspired by his musical “Mamma Mia!,” said that the group’s business empire has “made a statement” by declining to accept cash. “I haven’t used cash in at least eight year...

Signs at the Abba Museum

Signs at the Abba Museum

advise patrons that bills and coins are not accepted. Bills and coins now represent just 2 percent of Sweden’s economy, compared with 7.7 percent in the United States and 10 percent in the eurozone. Linus Sundahl-Djerf for The New York Times

Visitors at the Abba Museum

Visitors at the Abba Museum

in Stockholm. “We don’t want to be behind the times by taking cash while cash is dying out,” Mr. Ulvaeus said. Linus Sundahl-Djerf for The New York Times

Worshipers at the Filadelfia

Worshipers at the Filadelfia

Stockholm church in the center of the city. So few of the church’s 1,000 parishioners carry cash that it had to adapt. Linus Sundahl-Djerf for The New York Times

A Sunday night service at Filadelfia.

A Sunday night service at Filadelfia.

Visitors are able to tithe with their phones by typing in the number shown on the screens into a smartphone app. The ability to receive money electronically has increased the amount of donations. “It is a smooth and simple way and unlike many other situations, I have confidence in sending my money...

A cafe in Stockholm

A cafe in Stockholm

that decided to be cash-free. “When we had to buy money from the bank, we had to pay an extra fee of 20 percent,” said the manager, Ake Nolemo, left. Linus Sundahl-Djerf for The New York Times

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STOCKHOLM — Parishioners text tithes to their churches. Homeless street vendors carry mobile credit-card readers. Even the Abba Museum, despite being a shrine to the 1970s pop group that wrote “Money, Money, Money,” considers cash so last-century that it does not accept bills and coins.

Few places are tilting toward a cashless future as quickly as Sweden, which has become hooked on the convenience of paying by app and plastic.

This tech-forward country, home to the music streaming service Spotify and the maker of the Candy Crush mobile games, has been lured by the innovations that make digital payments easier. It is also a practical matter, as many of the country’s banks no longer accept or dispense cash.

At the Abba Museum, “we don’t want to be behind the times by taking cash while cash is dying out,” said Bjorn Ulvaeus, a former Abba member who has leveraged the band’s legacy into a sprawling business empire, including the museum.

Not everyone is cheering. Sweden’s embrace of electronic payments has alarmed consumer organizations and critics who warn of a rising threat to privacy and increased vulnerability to sophisticated Internet crimes. Last year, the number of electronic fraud cases surged to 140,000, more than double the amount a decade ago, according to Sweden’s Ministry of Justice.

The “Kollektomat,” enabling tithing by card, at the Filadelfia church in Stockholm. Only 15 percent of the donations to the church are cash. Credit Linus Sundahl-Djerf for The New York Times

Older adults and refugees in Sweden who use cash may be marginalized, critics say. And young people who use apps to pay for everything or take out loans via their mobile phones risk falling into debt.

“It might be trendy,” said Bjorn Eriksson, a former director of the Swedish police force and former president of Interpol. “But there are all sorts of risks when a society starts to go cashless.”

But advocates like Mr. Ulvaeus cite personal safety as a reason that countries should go cash-free. He switched to using only card and electronic payments after his son’s Stockholm apartment was burglarized twice several years ago.

“There was such a feeling of insecurity,” said Mr. Ulvaeus, who carries no cash at all. “It made me think: What would happen if this was a cashless society, and the robbers couldn’t sell what they stole?”

Bills and coins now represent just 2 percent of Sweden’s economy, compared with 7.7 percent in the United States and 10 percent in the euro area. This year, only about 20 percent of all consumer payments in Sweden have been made in cash, compared with an average of 75 percent in the rest of the world, according to Euromonitor International.

Cards are still king in Sweden — with nearly 2.4 billion credit and debit transactions in 2013, compared with 213 million 15 years earlier. But even plastic is facing competition, as a rising number of Swedes use apps for everyday commerce.

At more than half of the branches of the country’s biggest banks, including SEB, Swedbank, Nordea Bank and others, no cash is kept on hand, nor are cash deposits accepted. They say they are saving a significant amount on security by removing the incentive for bank robberies.

Last year, Swedish bank vaults held around 3.6 billion kronor in notes and coins, down from 8.7 billion in 2010, according to the Bank for International Settlements. Cash machines, which are controlled by a Swedish bank consortium, are being dismantled by the hundreds, especially in rural areas.

Mr. Eriksson, who now heads the Association of Swedish Private Security Companies, a lobbying group for firms providing security for cash transfers, accuses banks and credit card companies of trying to “price cash out of the market” to make way for cards and electronic payments, which generate fee income.

“I don’t think that’s something they should decide on their own,” he said. “Should they really be able to use their market force to turn Sweden into a cashless society?”

The government has not sought to stem the cashless tide. If anything, it has benefited from more efficient tax collection, because electronic transactions leave a trail; in countries like Greece and Italy, where cash is still heavily used, tax evasion remains a big problem.

Leif Trogen, an official at the Swedish Bankers’ Association, acknowledged that banks were earning substantial fee income from the cashless revolution. But because it costs money for banks and businesses to conduct commerce in cash, reducing its use makes financial sense, Mr. Trogen said.

Cash is certainly not dead. The Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, predicts it will decline fast but still be circulating in 20 years. Recently, the Riksbank issued newly redesigned coins and notes.

But for an increasing number of consumers, cash is no longer a habit.

At the University of Gothenburg, students said they almost exclusively used cards and electronic payments. “No one uses cash,” said Hannah Ek, 23. “I think our generation can live without it.”

The downside, she conceded, was that it was easy to spend without thinking. “I do spend more,” Ms. Ek said. “But if I had a 500 krona bill, I’d think twice about spending it all.” (Five hundred kronor is about $58.)

The shift has rippled through even the most unlikely corners of the Swedish economy.

Stefan Wikberg, 65, was homeless for four years after losing his job as an I.T. technician. He has a place to live now and sells magazines for Situation Stockholm, a charitable organization, and began using a mobile card reader to take payments, after noticing that almost no one carried cash.

“Now people can’t get away,” said Mr. Wikberg, who carries a sign saying he accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. “When they say, ‘I don’t have change,’ I tell them they can pay with card or even by SMS,” he said, referring to text messages. His sales have grown by 30 percent since he adopted the card reader two years ago.

At the Filadelfia Stockholm church, so few of the 1,000 parishioners now carry cash that the church had to adapt, said Soren Eskilsson, the executive pastor.

During a recent Sunday service, the church’s bank account number was projected onto a large screen. Worshipers pulled out cellphones and tithed through an app called Swish, a payment system set up by Sweden’s biggest banks that is fast becoming a rival to cards.

Doing away with cash, “might be trendy,” said Bjorn Eriksson, a former director of the Swedish police force and former president of Interpol. “But there are all sorts of risks when a society starts to go cashless.” Credit Linus Sundahl-Djerf for The New York Times

Other congregants lined up at a special “Kollektomat” card machine, where they could transfer funds to various church operations. Last year, out of 20 million kronor in tithes collected, more than 85 percent came in by card or digital payment.

“People give more money to the church now because it’s electronic and easy,” said Mr. Eskilsson, adding that the church saved on security costs by handling less cash.

Despite the convenience, even some who stand to gain from a cashless society see drawbacks.

“Sweden has always been at the forefront of technology, so it’s easy to embrace this,” said Jacob de Geer, a founder of iZettle, which makes a mobile-powered card reader.

“But Big Brother can watch exactly what you’re doing if you purchase things only electronically,” he said.

But for Mr. Ulvaeus, the music magnate, such concerns are overblown.

“Everything speaks in favor of a cashless society,” he said as he strolled past the Abba Museum to retrieve his car. “It’s a utopian thought, but we’re very close to it.”

He paused at a hot-dog stand for a snack. But when he was ready to pay, the card reader was broken.

“Sorry,” the vendor said. “You’ll have to use cash.”

Dec. 26, 2015 |  by Liz Alderman | Source: nytimes.com "In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears"

A Bullet That Always Finds Its Target – eNews for December 28, 2015

FYI For Your Interest (01) feature

M600 SR Squad-Level Precision-Guided 5.56 Service Rifle (Truth and Action)

Their arrows will be like a skilled warrior; they won’t miss their targets. — Jeremiah 50:9, (ISV)

Another way of rendering this verse would be “They are archers who kill what they aim at and never miss the mark.” The word “arrow” is chets, which can mean an arrow, or javelin; or, “any missile fired from an engine of war.” In modern parlance it could also mean a bullet.

There are new technologies that will change the nature of warfare.

The Exacto Bullet
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is developing a self-guided .50-caliber bullet that hits long-range moving targets whether fired by expert or novice. The secret to the bullet is that it is self-steering. EXACTO is an acronym for EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance. The Exact technologies used in the bullets were not publicized, but the EXACTO bullet illustrations show no visible fins or other steering mechanism on its guidance system. Footage released showed the rifle used intentionally aiming off target so the bullets could correct their flight path. EXACTO technology is claimed to markedly extend the day and nighttime range of current sniper systems. How the ammunition is designed to change direction in midair is classified.

The Mi-Bullet
Advanced Ballistics Concepts has invented a new high-tech bullet engineered to greatly increase accuracy. The Mi-Bullet, or multiple impact bullet, expands into four interconnected parts as it exits the barrel, improving accuracy thanks to an accelerated barrel speed and the increased diameter of the shot.

According to Concepts’ officials, the bullet is designed to increase first and second shot accuracy for shooters in “high pressure situations,” and the company has designed ammunition compatible with 99.9 percent of existing weapons on the market.

The handgun Mi-Bullet ammunition spreads to 14 inches after exiting the barrel, while shotgun ammunition expands to 24 inches. Concepts has engineered three different lethality grades of the bullet including the non-lethal Mi-Stinger, the semi-lethal Mi-Stunner, and the fully-lethal Mi-Stopper.

The XM–25
There is also a new weapons systems being tested now called the XM25. The gun only weighs about 6kg (13lb) and fires a 25mm round. This system is unusual because the round only has to be aimed close to the target, not directly at it. Once the round gets near its target, it explodes—just like an artillery shell. The fragments can then hit the target. The bullet is timed to explode with the use of a timed fuse. The XM25 uses a small computer inside the bullet that monitors details of the projectile’s flight and determines the precise time to detonate.

A handful of XM25 weapon systems have been tested in Afghanistan by United States forces. The tests result were reported as “successful.” The tests were so successful that the United States Army has ordered at least 36 rifles.

The M600 and M800 Rifles

In most recent news, Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL sharpshooter Chris Kyle, won the ‘American Sniper Shootout’ charity event named after him early in December.

The novice shooter used a new technology to beat the best shooters on the range. She used computer-equipped M600 and M800 rifles with precision-guiding technology made by TrackingPoint to defeat the reigning National Rifle Association champion Bruce Piatt.

The rifles, which were developed with input from Kyle’s husband, all feature ‘RapidLok Target Acquisition’ technology to automatically acquire and track a target while the trigger is pulled. The company was so confident in its technology they offered to pay Piatt $1 million if he was able to win the contest.

In addition to help her raise money for charity, Kyle also thinks the technology could help save lives.

She said:

Our first responders and military members regularly face situations most of us cannot imagine. They need every advantage for precision and efficiency to protect and serve while minimizing collateral damage and risk to themselves. [The technology] would have saved lives of friends we have lost and will save life and/or limb of those who put it all on the line for the 99 percent of us they choose to give their life for.

Using that technology she was able to defeat Piatt, even at a distance of 2100 yards — the same distance Chris Kyle successfully hit an enemy insurgent in Sadr City, Iraq, famously depicted in the film American Sniper. Bruce Piatt competed with the M4A1, M110, and M2010 military rifles and hit 58.4 percent of his shots while Kyle made 100 percent of hers.

Having a weapon that truly cannot miss would change the equation in a combat situation and could be the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy.


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December 28, 2015 eNews issue | Source:  khouse.org "A Bullet That Always Finds Its Target"

Larry the Cable Guy on Global Warming

FYI For Your Interest (01) feature

FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL

Al Gore’s personal wealth has moved from $3 million to $93 million in three years with Global Warming

A movie poster displays industrial smoke stacks whose emissions form a hurricane eyewallAn Inconvenient Truth (An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide show that, by his own estimate made in the film, he has given more than a thousand times.)

Jan, 2010 on Hannity: