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Rich Deaths December 6, 2005

Posted by decode in Culture, Politics, The World.

I came across the CIA’s World Factbook GDP per capita rankings today. I noticed that one of the statistics listed in the Factbook is infant mortality rate. The definition of this statistic, according to the Factbook itself, is:

This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year; included is the total death rate, and deaths by sex, male and female. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.

So, I went down the GDP per capita rankings and compared the United States with other similarly rich countries. We like to talk about how good our health care is here, but I found some surprising things.

  • The USA has the second highest GDP per capita in the world (Luxembourg is first).
  • The Infant Mortality Rate in the USA is 6.5 deaths/1,000 live births.
  • You have to go down to GDP per capita country #35 (United Arab Emirates) to find a country that isn’t a small island and has a higher infant mortality rate than the United States.
  • Notable countries with lower Infant Mortality Rates than the US: Iceland, Germany, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Italy, Taiwan, Spain, Greece, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Cuba
  • The European Union as a whole has a lower infant mortality rate than the US.
  • Middle eastern countries tend to have high infant mortality rates, in relation to similar GDP per capita countries. Example: United Arab Emirates has a GDP per capita of $25,200 and infant mortality rate of 14.51 deaths/1,000 live births. Spain has a GDP per capita of $23,300 and an infant mortality rate of 4.42 deaths/1,000 live births, less than 1/3 of UAE’s. I’d be interested to know what causes this.

I wonder why the US has such bad numbers here. I really can’t come up with a good answer. Most other first world countries have some form of socialized medicine, so I wonder if it is related to that.


Exit Strategy November 30, 2005

Posted by decode in Politics, The World.
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The US National Security Council has released a document outlining their strategy for “Victory in Iraq”. The goal? We’ll have achieved victory in Iraq when it is peaceful, democratic, and the terrorists have been defeated. In other words, the goal is so nebulous that the war can be extended indefinitely. Did we expect anything else?

Non-Violence November 20, 2005

Posted by decode in Culture, Politics.
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In the sermon this morning, the pastor made reference to the increase in violent crime that our culture has to face and deal with. Fortunately, violent crime in the U.S. has been on a decline for over 10 years. Here are US Department of Justice charts and numbers describing these trends:

Violent Crimes
Violent Crimes by Gender
Property Crimes
Firearm Related Crimes

Text summary:

  • The violent crime rate decreased 2.2% from 2003 to 2004. From 1995 to 2004 the rate fell 32.0%.
  • The property crime rate decreased 2.1% from 2003 to 2004. From 1995 to 2004, the rate fell 23.4%.

Dilbert’s Views on Intelligent Design November 13, 2005

Posted by decode in Politics.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, wrote an interesting blog post about Intelligent Design and Darwinian Evolution. He actually takes a fair look at the debate.

What I found far more interesting was a comment in response to the post. This comment very clearly lays out the domains of Darwinian Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Materialism. I found it to be one of the best thought-out things I’ve read all weekend. Bravo John Nelson, whoever you are.

Doomsday Movie November 4, 2005

Posted by decode in Politics, Sustainability.
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I saw a good movie last night called The End of Suburbia. If you get a chance, you should see it. It talks about how the entirety of suburban life depends heavily on oil, and since almost all the geologists are predicting that global oil production will peak by the year 2020, that’s going to have to change. It was a little too dystopian for my tastes, but it raised a number of interesting points.

Judicial Activism November 2, 2005

Posted by decode in Politics.
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The New York Times is running an interesting article on the current U.S. Supreme Court Justices’ decisions. They look at how often each judge has decided to strike down a law passed by Congress. The claim is that the justices that strike down more congressional laws are more “activist,” since they are interfering with the democratic system of the voting of elected representatives. The result? The five most conservative judges have decided to strike down the most congressional laws, while the five most liberal have decided to oppose the least number of laws that passed through Congress.

Halloween October 30, 2005

Posted by decode in Politics.
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Heard a few minutes ago on the radio: “Halloween is the great Republican holiday, where you try to scare everybody to death and gobble up as much as you can, and deal with the consequences later.”

Get Rich Quick October 28, 2005

Posted by decode in Politics, Web Technology.
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For all of you aspiring entrepeneurs out there, here’s a tool to help you generate ideas to present to all the VC’s throwing money at Web 2.0 these days.  I think Joel Spolsky might like this page.