Links March 2008

Dan Bernstein wrote an interesting paper about the security of Qmail [1]. Of particular interest to me are the sections about things that might do differently if he was to do it again and the mentions of language features for security. Bruce Schneier has some interesting comments about this [2].

Interesting paper by Jessica Walpaw Reyes about the link between lead in petrol and crime [3]. The research indicates that “the reduction in childhood lead exposure in the late 1970s and early 1980s is responsible for significant declines in violent crime in the 1990s, and may cause further declines into the future“. It makes me wonder about what other health measures could be used to reduce crime.

Paul Wayper writes about a wax that is used in both floor and car polish as well as food [4].

The Australia Institute [5] has some interesting papers. Here’s a PDF about over-consumption in Australia [6]. It states that 46% of people who have household incomes greater than $70,000 say that they can’t buy everything that they really need. It uses the term affluenza to describe the tendency of middle-class people to try and emulate the life-styles of the rich. I wonder whether Gear Acquisition Syndrome [7] is related to this.

The site – exposing the religious “right” in Australia [8] has some interesting information. I didn’t realise that the problem was so bad here.

5 comments to Links March 2008

  • brunoengel

    I’d say Schneier gets away with barely a comment. His website hosts some interesting comments, but he didn’t say much himself..

  • etbe

    brunoengel: Yes, I was tempted to not include a link to him because of his lack of comment. But the commentary among readers of his site is worth reading.

  • rdb

    Do you read Ian Lance Taylor’s Airs blog?

  • Interesting to see interest in the effects health issues have on crime rates. Related is the effect of legalized abortion on crime rates. This has been written about in the past though very few people like to admit that abortions can have positive effects. Very interesting though a bit unsettling.

  • etbe

    Tom Jones: Jessica’s paper claims that a 56% drop in violent crime was the result of lead-free petrol and a 29% drop was the result of legalised abortion.

    These factors are significantly different. One difference is that abortion reduces the number of people in a particular age group and could be expected to decrease the number of criminals in at least the same proportion. Another is that the women who seek abortions tend to be those who are least likely to be able to provide a good environment for a child. Children who are born into poverty have a much higher incidence of criminal behaviour.

    The issue of lead poisoning is that it increases the probability of criminal behaviour in individuals.

    rdb: Interesting, I’ll check that one out.