Good Reads: From domestic violence, to lion survival, to the cost of Medicare
In this week's round-up of Good Reads includes fighting domestic violence, a look at how lions survive, why apps can't end poverty, Greek youth unemployment, and the Medicare panel that decides your health-care costs.
To fight domestic violence
Between 2000 and 2006, more than 10,600 people were killed in domestic homicides in the United States. About 3,200 US soldiers were killed overseas during the same period. A new approach to assessing domestic homicide risk could change the trajectory of these crimes.Skip to next paragraph
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In The New Yorker, Rachel Louise Snyder highlights cases overseen by Kelly Dunne, chief operating officer of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center in Amesbury, Mass. In 2005, Ms. Dunne created a Domestic High Violence Risk Team, which began including local police, hospitals, and courts when assessing domestic homicide risk case by case.
“Dunne attributes the prevalence of domestic violence, in part, to a deep cultural misunderstanding of how violence operates,” writes Ms. Snyder. “We assume that victims incite abuse, or that if the situation at home was truly threatening they would leave. Restraining orders, when filed, are thought to keep perpetrators away. And, if a woman fails to ... renew a restraining order, the assumption is that the problem has somehow been resolved.”
It usually means the opposite, but that is where Dunne’s strategy comes into play: recognizing potentially lethal behavior and helping victims take steps to avoid it. Since 2005, none of Dunne’s cases have ended in homicide.
Lion king or coalition
Why do lions live in prides when many other big cats (like jaguars, cougars, and tigers) lead a solitary life?
“Continual risk of death, even more than the ability to cause it, is what shapes the social behavior of this ferocious but ever jeopardized animal,” writes David Quammen for National Geographic. “The lion is the only feline that’s truly social, living in prides and coalitions, the size and dynamics of which are determined by an intricate balance of evolutionary costs and benefits.”
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Mr. Quammen followed a group of researchers in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, where the highest concentration of the world’s 35,000 lions live. They use 40 years of data to uncover patterns of lion behavior in such wild, harsh conditions.
An app to end global poverty?
There are applications that know what you want before you do. But can Silicon Valley’s ingenuity apply to ending global poverty? In Foreign Policy, Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur raise some doubts. They point out that technology has already done much to improve lives in the developing world – think vaccines, radios, bicycles, and cellphones. But many well-intentioned high-tech projects (like One Laptop Per Child or Soccket) fail to meet the reality on the ground. Despite the fact that extreme poverty has decreased by half, millions of people still die from preventable diseases.