Best Tool to Fight Crime is Welfare

The best way to fight crime is to take away motivation to commit crime. It’s been proven time and time again that severe punishments don’t deter crime, so how can we creat conditions which ensure people don’t want to break the law. The solution is welfare.

Economists have proven that when people lose a social security system they turn to the easiest (most efficient) way to make up their losses: crime. Therefore we should fund welfare programs instead of thinking that funding the police will deter crime.

They found that terminating the cash welfare benefits of these young adults increased the number of criminal charges by 20% over the next two decades. The increase was concentrated in what the authors call “income-generating crimes,” like theft, burglary, fraud/forgery, and prostitution. As a result of the increase in criminal charges, the annual likelihood of incarceration increased by 60%. The effect of this income removal on criminal justice involvement persisted more than two decades later.

The researchers found that the impact of the change was heterogeneous. While some people removed from the income support program at age 18 responded by working more in the formal labor market, a much larger fraction responded by engaging in crime to replace the lost income. In response to losing benefits, youth were twice as likely to be charged with an illicit income-generating offense than they were to maintain steady employment.

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Existing Water Filters Can Catch Microplastics

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Plastic waste is everywhere and the tinier the plastic is the harder it is to deal with. These microplastics are proving to be very difficult to address which has sent researchers looking into all sort of solutions. One solution is already up and running in some places: sand filters in water systems. It turns out that some existing sand filtration systems can capture plastic nano particles.

The results are now in, and they include some reassuring findings. In a report published today in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, the researchers show that even if untreated water contained considerable quantities of nanoplastics, these particles were retained in sand filters very efficiently during water treatment. Both in laboratory tests and in a larger test facility located directly on the premises of the Zurich Water Works, the biologically active slow sand filter was the most effective at retaining nanoparticles – achieving an efficacy level in the region of 99.9%.

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Get Paid to Report Bike Lane Blockers

Austin spent millions on improving their infrastructure and now they are looking to citizens to enforce the rules of using that infrastructure. Anybody who reports a vehicle blocking a bicycle lane will now get a bounty when the driver of the vehicle is charged. Yes, it’s a Wild West bounty program in the 21st century.

This program makes sense since police don’t always enforce traffic laws (and in the city I live police refuse to enforce traffic laws) and it encourages more reporting. When drivers block bicycle lanes not only do they endanger every cyclist they are also causing traffic jams, which slow down all vehicles on the road.

The program, inspired by one in New York City, would allow Austinites to use the 311 mobile application to report photo evidence of cars obstructing bike lanes. The person reporting the infraction would then receive 25 percent of the revenue collected by the city for the citation.

“The city spends millions of dollars to make these facilities, and these facilities get blocked all of the time,” said Mario Champion, Urban Transportation Commission chair and author of the proposal. “A successful transportation system doesn’t just move cars, it moves people.”

Champion said the proposal isn’t too dissimilar from other programs already used by the city. One program uses citizens trained by the police to find and cite cars illegally parked in accessible parking spaces around Austin.

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Kazakhstan Listens to Protestors, Moves Towards Democracy

Earlier this year the people of Kazakhstan went to the streets to protest the authoritarian government, which was met with lethal force from the government. Now, that same government is loosening their grip on their populace and moving towards democracy in a huge win for the democratic movement. The very recent past has been very tough on the citizens of Kazakhstan but the future sure looks better.

More proof that protesting works! And democracy is more than just being able to vote.

The poll on constitutional changes was seen by many as a chance to close the chapter on the country’s former leader.

According to Tokayev, the proposed changes will empower lawmakers and dismantle the “super-presidential” system currently in place. But the reform also ends a slew of privileges enjoyed by Nazarbayev.

Another amendment nixes Nazarbayev’s right to run for president more than two times.

The reforms will also ban the president’s relatives from holding government positions — another controversial issue in the oil-rich country.

They also significantly strengthen the role of the country’s parliament, restore the Constitutional Court, and abolish the death penalty.

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Increase Happiness by Getting Out of Your Comfort Zones

If you ever feel that you’re in a rut then do something to get you out of your comfort zone. A new study reveals the importance for expanding one’s boundaries to increase one’s happiness.

Going out of your comfort zone doesn’t need to be skydiving, public speaking, or anything extreme. It all depends on you and what you need to do to expand yourself.

An increasingly large body of research in social psychology has underscored the power of brief situational interventions in promoting purposeful change. The present research contributes to the literature on positive psychology interventions (PPIs) by testing a novel volitional intervention that encourages people to engage in activities ‘outside their comfort zone.’ Participants were randomly assigned either to a condition that encouraged them to engage in an activity outside of their comfort zone over the following two weeks or to a control condition that encouraged them to keep a record of their daily activities. The intervention boosted the life satisfaction of people who were relatively less happy at baseline, with exploratory analyses tentatively suggesting benefits strongest among people who went outside their comfort zone by helping others. Discussion centers on the potential of behavioral ‘stretch’ interventions to promote positive change and well-being among people dissatisfied with their life.

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