Bill GrossPhoto links here, here, here and here.
Immigration is a boon to American science and math, a new report asserts, noting that 70 percent of the finalists in a recent prestigious science competition are the children of immigrants. ... children of immigrants took 70 percent of the finalist slots in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search Competition, an original-research competition for high school seniors. Of the 40 finalists, 28 had parents born in other countries: 16 from China, 10 from India, one from South Korea and one from Iran. ... Still, children of immigrants face barriers outside of the education system. According to the Georgetown report, racial disparities in pay persist even within science fields. Whites with an undergraduate major in engineering out-earn Asians with the same degree by about $8,000 a year. African-American and Hispanic engineering graduates fare worse, making about $60,000 and $56,000 per year, respectively, compared with whites' $80,000. Asians out-earn whites in the fields of health, law and public policy; psychology and social work; and biology and life sciences.--Stephanie Pappas
When less legal work is available, more illegal "work" takes place. The economist Gary Becker of the University of Chicago, a Nobel laureate, gave the standard view its classic formulation in the 1960s. He argued that crime is a rational act, committed when the criminal's "expected utility" exceeds that of using his time and other resources in pursuit of alternative activities, such as leisure or legitimate work. Observation may appear to bear this theory out. After all, neighborhoods with elevated crime rates tend to be those where poverty and unemployment are high as well. But there have long been difficulties with the notion that unemployment causes crime. For one thing, the 1960s, a period of rising crime, had essentially the same unemployment rate as the late 1990s and early 2000s, a period when crime fell. And during the Great Depression, when unemployment hit 25%, the crime rate in many cities went down. ... Culture creates a problem for social scientists like me, however. We do not know how to study it in a way that produces hard numbers and testable theories. Culture is the realm of novelists and biographers, not of data-driven social scientists. But we can take some comfort, perhaps, in reflecting that identifying the likely causes of the crime decline is even more important than precisely measuring it.--JAMES Q. WILSON
I just quoted Maureen Dowd. Hell freezes over.--Cav