Monday, August 03, 2009

New blog: Black IQ and climate, rethinking the decline in formality, and changes in arts appreciation   posted by agnostic @ 8/03/2009 02:13:00 AM

Those are the first three articles that I've posted to a new blog of mine, Patterns in science and culture, where all of my data-rich posts will go from now on. I'll still review existing work or throw out "what if?" posts here, but if it requires looking up and analyzing data, you'll only be able to read about it there. These are the longer, original, buzz-starting ones I usually put up here or at my personal blog. The only change is that now the data-driven ones will be for-purchase. (If it takes a lot to put together, I can't do it for free.) For $10, you'll get access to 20 "feature-length" articles -- ones that require a decent amount of investigation, labor, or ingenuity -- plus all of the shorter ones that strike my fancy or that you request. They will be put up roughly once or twice a week. After the first 20 are done, I'll start another site will 20 more, and so on. Purchase info is at the bottom of the full entry.

The first three are already up:

1) Climate and civilization among Blacks, where I look at how climate affects IQ, imprisonment rates, and college degree-earning rates among Blacks, using state-level data. This is a follow-up to a similar post I wrote about Whites.

2) Was there a decline in formality during the 20th C? Here, I look at data on changes in naming preferences that question the widespread view that we've "become less formal."

3) Are the arts in decline? I've dug up annual data on theater attendance and the number of playing weeks for both Broadway and road shows from 1955 to 2006. I discuss the overall trend, the notable departures from the trend, and how in-synch or out-of-synch the Broadway and road show data have been over time.

Upcoming articles will include a look at turnover rates in Billboard #1 songs as far back as the various charts go -- when has there been rapid turnover, and when has there been stagnation, and do these accord with what we think is good or bad music? I've also put together a series of graphs that show quite striking generational changes in the popularity of getting a driver's license among teenagers of different ages. I also plan to round out a series where I looked at the elite vs. popular valuation of painters and of composers, using Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment and sales data. Next I'll look at literary figures. As usual, I will put the data into a larger picture (or story).

Just as a reminder for older readers, or as further examples of what I've done for newer readers, here's a brief selection of original work I've done:

The death of silly academic theories such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, and even postmodernism, using JSTOR archives. This story was picked up by the Toronto Globe and Mail, Arts and Letters Daily, and a few others I'm forgetting. (Here's a follow-up.)

How different social classes react to adolescent sex
, using the GSS, and proposing a life history account of these differences.

Debunking a study on the supposed hindering effect that feminine names have on women's progress in the sciences. To this day, the study has not been published, and I can only hope that we were part of that (cyber peer review).

How much different generations enjoy various music genres, using the GSS. This provides pretty clear data that you imprint on the popular music from when you were about 15 and stay that way for the rest of your life.

How the American diet has changed over the 20th C., using pretty fine-grained data such as red meat, fish, poultry, etc., rather than just "meat." There's also data showing that heart disease and obesity has only gotten worse as we've switched to a more carboholic diet since the 1970s.

How the blondness of Playboy Playmates has changed over time, as well as some speculation about why it changes the way it does.

The stagnating pace of revolutionary technological innovation, linking it to the decline in monopolistic bodies like AT&T's Bell Labs or the Defense Department.

Purchase info

Although blogging doesn't eat up a lot of time, the more data-intensive posts do. This is not something that most bloggers do -- most are linkers or gasbags, some very entertaining and others very boring. But I actually do a bit of investigation, find clever ways to attack a question, provide data, and put it into an easy-to-read visual. Not everyone will agree with my interpretation, but at least I've done lots of homework that others will benefit from, and that's something you find at very few places on the internet, especially if it's a new finding. But these more exciting posts take time away from earning money, so I'm asking fifty cents per long article, with all the briefer data-containing posts thrown in free.

The new blog is by invitation only, so you're simply paying to be put on the list of allowed readers. There is a PayPal button at the end of this entry. You will need a PayPal account, and a Google account -- they're free, and you just provide them with an email address. When you pay, leave me a message via PayPal with the email address associated with your Google account. I need this to invite you to the blog. If you don't say so, I'll assume it's the one attached to your PayPal account. If you forget to mention it, you can always send me a correction through your PayPal account.

Once I invite you, you'll get an email that has a "join this blog" link that you click on. And with that, you're all set. You will need to be signed into your Google account, but you can stay signed in forever.

I expect that most purchasers will not be trolls or flamers -- they want to harass people for free -- but if you exhibit classical spammer behavior, you'll be kicked out with no refund. It just takes a couple people like that to ruin a site, so I'll be strict about that.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here or email me at icanfeelmyheartbeat at the hotmail-ish site.