Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Google NGrams

“Can societies collectively become more or less depressed over time?” A recent paper published in PNAS asks (and answers) that big, bold question.  The authors go looking for “markets of cognitive distortions” in the Google Books corpus (English, Spanish, and German languages), a corpus that covers more than a century of the written word. The … Continue reading Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Google NGrams

Sherman’s March

What were the effects of the capital destruction wrecked on the South during Sherman's March? Comparing neighboring counties that differ only on whether or not they were unlucky enough to be in the way of Sherman’s scorched earth campaign, new work shows that destruction did have significant medium-run effects on the southern economy.

Dyess Colony and Experiments in Rural Relief During the Great Depression

Before Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno to watch him die or met his true love in the North Country or got the blues in Folsom Prison, he spent his boyhood in Dyess Colony. I might know much more about Cash’s upbringing, but Walk the Line opens with an ominous shot of a table … Continue reading Dyess Colony and Experiments in Rural Relief During the Great Depression

Jury Trials, Impeachment and Otherwise

A pretty major trial concluded on Saturday in the US Senate, as you might have heard. Despite a 57-43 majority voting to convict President Trump, he was officially acquitted, the Senate requiring a two-thirds majority in impeachment trials. The reality that a simple majority in the Senate isn’t enough to get something passed (most of … Continue reading Jury Trials, Impeachment and Otherwise

1918 Every Year: Racial Inequality in Death from Infectious Disease in U.S. Cities in the Early 20th Century

The Covid-19 pandemic is poised to kill people on a global scale not witnessed since the 1918 influenza pandemic. Because the influenza pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide and 675,000 in the United States, it stands out among scholars as a uniquely catastrophic event. But less well-known is that the typical rate of death from infectious disease among urban nonwhites in the early twentieth century was just as catastrophic -- even in non-pandemic years.