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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Pinker’

The Decline and Fall of Violence (Ep. 43)

Our latest Freakonomics Radio segment on Marketplace concerns a topic we’ve been writing about for a long time: violent crime — and especially why it rises and falls. In this segment, Levitt and I discuss the fact that overall crime and violence are likely at a historic low these days, and not by a little bit either. The conversation builds off the fascinating new book by Steven Pinker called The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
Pinker has just completed a very good Q&A on our blog, and you’ll hear him in the Marketplace segment as well. Even though many people are convinced that the world today is more violent than ever (can you say “media effect”?), Pinker lays out the facts of the decline and fall of violence in a way that is hard to dispute:

The FREAK-est Links

How is baseball signaling like financial markets? Steve Pinker to speak in New Jersey. (Earlier) Airlines offering better meals, albeit for a price. (Earlier) Chinese cremator leaves corpses half burned to save on fuel costs.

The FREAK-est Links

Excel expert gives away free copies of his books online. (Earlier) Mayor Bloomberg targeted by identity thieves. (Earlier) The Rubik’s Cube World Championships — the next Rock, Paper Scissors? Steve Pinker calls the modern age “the most peaceful time in our species’ existence.” (Earlier)

Betting on the End of the World

There’s a new John Tierney column out today, a good one, on doomsday predictions (mostly concerning biological weapons), and who’s backing up their predictions with cash (including Tierney) on There’s more information on Tierney’s blog, including a link to this interesting essay by Steven Pinker about the overall decline of violence in modern times.

A new blog that is way better than ours

There is something called the TED conference, held annually in Monterey, California, which brings together a very high-powered audience of technology big shots and an amazingly diverse set of speakers. When I spoke there a few years ago, the guy best known for being the voice of Roger Rabbit was the speaker who followed me. (Let me just say that . . .