Thursday, September 24, 2015

Penrose's Law

Penrose's Law[3][4] states that the population size of prisons and psychiatric hospitals are inversely related, although this is generally viewed as something of an oversimplification
That was thought up by from Lionel Penrose in 1939 (he was Roger Penrose's father). And it still seems broadly accurate
During 1960–2004, there was a 74% population-adjusted decrease in mental institution beds and a 52% increase in the prison population. The same period saw a 500% increase in overall crime and a 900% increase in violent crimes, with a concurrent 94% increase in the size of the country's police force. Penrose's law proved remarkably robust in the longitudinal perspective

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Irish Suicide Statistics

There is an interesting article in 20th Sept issue of Irish Daily Mail on Sunday by Alison O'Reilly on the emotional difficulties priests in Ireland have.

The figures given claim priests are at a much greater risk of suicide than the general public

However if looking at who priests are I do not think this is the case. According to the CSO here

"The age-standardised death rate from suicide was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2011" not the 5.12 figure in the article.

Also Males are at a higher risk anyway. "male suicide rates were five times higher at 20.5 deaths per 100,000"

And Older males at a higher risk still. "male suicide rates were highest in the 45-64 age-group (28 per 100,000)". The average age of an Irish priest is around 65.

Just by their gender and age profile priests 35ish to the general population 28 per 100,000 do not seem that different.

Finally priests are unmarried which is a well known correlate of suicide. To take one paper Suicide and marital status in Northern Ireland "Never marrying increased male suicide risk and its effect increased with age IRR among over 55 year-olds = 2.33". 2.33 * 20.5 base =47 per 100k

I had not realised quite how bad it was for those bachelor farmers in terms of suicide. This (greater than 28) rate compares with 1.2 for murder in Ireland.

The story here is not how bad suicide is for priests but how bad the problem is for all single older men in Ireland.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Japan Loves Faxes

In Japan, faxes are still used extensively for cultural and graphemic reasons and are available for sending to both domestic and international recipients from over 81% of all convenience stores nationwide.

Coupland explains that he thinks the Japanese addressing system is the cause of its love of faxes.

Graphemic reasons are that typing was never really popular in Japan. Partly because of the three alphabets and partly just because of an appreciation of calligraphy.

Another reason is the use of forms that do not really fit electronic formats

But I love the explanation that the Japanese addressing system has lead to an 80s technology getting popular and it staying alive