Backhanded Victim Blame and the Current Drugging Scare: excerpts

In the book, Drink Spiking and Predatory Drugging: A Modern History, I make the argument that exaggeration of the date rape drugs threat (among students, particularly, but not limited to them) has a pernicious effect on voluntarily intoxicated victims of violence and exploitation. Situations in which drugging explanations are insisted upon when both tests and... Continue Reading →

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Much ado about nothing: Overinterpreting volatility in homicide rates

Andrew Wheeler (a PhD criminologist teaching in Texas, and a former undergraduate student of mine) explains what you may or may not already know about homicide rates in the U.S.

Andrew Wheeler

I’m not much of a macro criminologist, but being asked questions by my dad (about Richard Rosenfeld and the Ferguson effect) and the dentist yesterday (asking about some of Trumps comments about rising crime trends) has prompted me to jump into it and give my opinion. Long story short — many sources I believe are overinterpreting short term fluctuations as more meaningful than they are.

First I will tackle national crime rates. So if you have happened to walk by a TV playing CNN the past few days, you may have heard Donald Trump being criticized for his statements on crime rates. This is partially a conflation with the difference between overall levels of crime versus changes in crime over time. Basically crime is currently low compared to historical patterns, but homicide rates have been rising in the past two years. This is easier to show in a chart…

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Where’s the Scholarly OA blog and the Predatory Journal List? (Third Update, 6.15.17)

Newest Update, June 15, 2017: The plot thickens, and yet we have clearer answers as to the disappearance of Beall's List. Read the latest by Prasad Ravindranath at Science Chronicle: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/44933113/posts/1493322021 original post January 18, 2017, updated February 13, 2017 and June 15, 2017 February 13 update: So, this story just keeps getting weirder. It seems... Continue Reading →

Thinking Beyond the Couch-Hero and the All-Seeing Eye: getting up to date on Surveillance and Sociology

Anyone who listens to podcasts and has thought about surveillance, privacy, and the shaping of the self in the age of the selfie, alongside the silent corporate algorithms that channel our digital lives, should be listening to Benjamen Walker’s new series on his podcast Theory of Everything. Walker’s first in this series is “Burning Down... Continue Reading →

The Opiate Overdose Crisis: An Experiment in Vancouver Suggests a New Approach

Across North America, first responders and hospitals report a deluge of overdoses among heroin users whose drugs are mixed with fentanyl, a strong synthetic opiate or the even more powerful carfentanil, which is used in veterinary anesthesia. Word from Vancouver is that public health workers have used a reagent test for the presence of fentanyl in... Continue Reading →

Like Many Things, the Promise of Light and Portable Drug Testing Depends Entirely on Context

I noted in my last blog entry on the dubious technology “drink spiking detection” devices — such as coasters, test cards, and other reagent-coated bar ware — that both false positives and false negatives are too high to make the technology useful. I also suggested that if such user-end technology — thus far deployed without... Continue Reading →

The Promise and Pitfalls of Consumer Drug Detectors. Okay, Mostly Pitfalls. (Part 2 of 2)

What’s in Your Drugs? Summer Drug Testing Roundup, part 2 of 2: Read Part 1 here On the heels of a bar drugging scare this past summer in Seattle, some local bars in the Capitol Hill section of that city are supplying test strips for bar patrons. These easy-to-use reagent strips can typically test for... Continue Reading →

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