If Industry Causes Cancer and Rain Causes Democracy, I Guess a Weather Machine is a Double-Edged Sword (#cancer #space #democracy)

Assorted links for your perusal:
  • Robin Hanson ponders the mystery of whether widespread cancer is really a result of the industrial age. Like a good skeptic, he doesn't trash the claim on its face, but rather explores all the available empirical data to evaluate the claim.
  • Looks like that habitable exoplanet scientists recently discovered may not exist at all. Too bad, because I was really enjoying all that "we'll probably see the colonization of space in our generation" chatter.
  • Is moderate rainfall the key to supporting democracy? According to economists Haber and Menaldo: "An instrumental variables approach demonstrates that while low levels of rainfall cause persistent autocracy and high levels of rainfall strongly favor it as well, moderate rainfall supports stable democracy. This econometric strategy also shows that rainfall works through the institutions of the modern territorial state borne from settled agriculture, institutions that are proxied for by low levels of contemporary tribalism."