Culture, Future, Meanderings

Despite Global Conflict, Statistics Show Violence In Steady Decline

The world may be becoming a less violent place according to recent studies. While the numbers of persons affected by violence may be large, as a percentage of population a decline is noticeable. For instance, battlefield deaths in the 20th century occurred at a rate of 60 persons for every 100,000 people (with two World Wars and its genocides). The current rate is 0.3 persons dying in battle per 100,000 people. Stepping back far enough to pay attention to the trend is difficult when the daily news brings us real stories with real blood and real violence … may this trend continue.

It seems as if violence is everywhere, but it’s really on the run.

Yes, thousands of people have died in bloody unrest from Africa to Pakistan, while terrorists plot bombings and kidnappings. Wars drag on in Iraq and Afghanistan. In peaceful Norway, a man massacred 69 youths in July. In Mexico, headless bodies turn up, victims of drug cartels. This month eight people died in a shooting in a California hair salon.

Yet, historically, we’ve never had it this peaceful.That’s the thesis of three new books, including one by prominent Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. Statistics reveal dramatic reductions in war deaths, family violence, racism, rape, murder and all sorts of mayhem.

In his book, Pinker writes: “The decline of violence may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species.”

via World Becoming Less Violent: Despite Global Conflict, Statistics Show Violence In Steady Decline.

Culture, Meanderings

Women Making Slow, Sure Strides In STEM

I remember my dad’s reaction to the birth of our daughter followed a year later by the birth of a niece. This engineering professor suggested “its about time we learned how to celebrate daughters!” I agree and I give thanks for the Elizabeth Harbron’s of academia who create the space for women to not just survive, but thrive in the sciences … my home away from the home of my everyday work.

Rebecca Allred has fond memories of that lab at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. She and her peers spent hours there. They worked into the night for their professor, Elizabeth Harbron, because they wanted to, blowing off steam by dancing to the soundtrack of “Mamma Mia” or taking a break on Fridays to play Putt-Putt golf together.

Harbron was not only their mentor, but often a confidante. They shared their frustrations. They celebrated their successes. Several published their findings with Harbron’s guidance, a rarity for undergraduates.

“That lab was a refuge between classes. I loved being there,” says Allred, now a second-year doctoral student in the Yale University chemistry department and one of a new generation of young women who are helping change the face of the so-called STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.

via Women Making Slow, Sure Strides In Science, Math.