Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do Women Make Less Than Men?

A lot of people get irritated with feminism. Seen by many as spurred by a cadre of disaffected women who are lashing out for their inability to get laid, the modern feminist movement still encounters the same kinds of hurdles it faced since the days of the Seneca Falls Convention. Since the modern feminist movement took root in the 1970s, many today grudgingly remark to feminists that they got what they wanted and should shut their traps. Like an irritant in the eye, feminism is something that many want to clear out of the public consciousness.

However, has the modern feminist movement achieved its aims enough to warrant an abatement of the fight? Should women be happy with the "equality" that was so gratefully bestowed upon them? Well, perhaps there is no better indicator than differences in occupational pay. After all, if women aren't equal to men on this basic footing, then one can't exactly argue against discrimination in a fundamental sense.

The following figures were compiled by data found in the 2006 US Bureau of Labor study entitled "Median Weekly Earnings for Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers by Detailed Occupation and Sex."

Women earn an average of $71 less per week than men (11% less)

Compared to men in the following occupational sectors, women earn the following per week on average:

Management Occupations: $201 less, 18% difference

Business & Financial Occupations: $102 less, 11% difference

Computer and Mathematical Occupations: $123 less, 11% difference

Architecture and engineering Occupations: $183 less, 16% difference

Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations: $112 less, 11% difference

Community and Social Services Occupations: $37 less, 5% difference

Legal Occupations: $243 less, 21% difference

Education, Training, and Library Occupations: $56 less, 7% difference

Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and media Occupations: $108 less, 13% difference

Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations: $45 less, 5% difference

Healthcare Support Occupations: $6 less, 1% difference

Protective Services Occupations: $136 less, 20% difference

Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations: $16 less, 4% difference

Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations: $43 less, 11% difference

Personal Care and Service Occupations: $19 less, 5% difference

Sales and Related Occupations: $141 less, 22% difference

Office and Administrative Support Occupations: $15 less, 3% difference

Service Occupations: $32 less, 8% difference

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations: $45 less, 12% difference

Construction and Extraction Occupations: $86 less, 14% difference

Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations: $45 less, 6% difference

Production Occupations: $127 less, 23% difference

Transportation and Material Moving Occupations: $142 less, 26% difference

In conclusion, it's perfectly apparent that even in 20th Century America, women make less money than men in no less than every sector of the economy. Rather embarrassing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Danger of Salmonella?

Perhaps the biggest nostalgia killer in the past couple decades has been the salmonella hysteria. For millions who enjoyed licking the cookie dough off the wooden spoon in their younger years, the blissful memories have been replaced by fear of foodborne illness. For years, we have had the notion burned into our minds that if we don't cook our food to the consistency of a styrofoam packing peanut, it will poison our bodies with deadly microbes. The way disinfectant products are advertised on T.V., one would think that salmonella bacteria are lurking in every single egg and every breast of chicken like a ticking time bomb waiting to induce atomic diarrhea and dry heaves. I myself have experienced food poisoning not once, but twice, and as awful as the experience was, it has not deterred me from eating raw eggs, enjoying cookie dough, and eating bloody meat.

So, how real is the risk of being poisoned by salmonella? Well, to find this out, we turn to surveys done by two government agencies on salmonella and the two most prevalent sources of food that salmonella cases arise from: chicken and eggs. The following statistics and data were compiled from 2004 studies supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

According to the CDC sample aggregated from 10 sample states, the prevalence of reported Salmonella poisoning in 2004 was 14.61 cases per 100,000 people in the United States. If we do a rough calculation using the total number of people in the U.S. capable of eating either eggs or poultry (about 274 million over age 5), then one arrives at odds of 1 in 40,031 of getting sick with Salmonella. Those are about the same odds as dying as a result of electrocution from power lines. For a less morbid comparison, you're almost twice as likely to become a professional athlete than get seriously ill from salmonella poisoning.

Thus, it seems safe to assume that even if you like your eggs runny and your meat bloody, you're not automatically dancing with the gastrointestinal devil. Although they're not particularly useful in compiling odds, here are a couple of fun (disturbing) facts that might get you thinking about something other than salmonella. In 2004, the United States consumed a total of 14,339,000 tons of chicken and 74,100,000,000 eggs. Both are fairly staggering numbers. Bon Appetit.

Assessing the Danger from Online Predators

With the advent of shows like "To Catch A Predator" and lurid media tales of young girls being assaulted by people they've met on MySpace, a wave of internet abuse hysteria seems to be sweeping the nation. The way news programs present it, your child is almost guaranteed to be kidnapped, raped, strangled, stuffed in a garbage bag, and buried in a pine forest if they talk to new people on MySpace, AIM, or in chat rooms. Before you start purchasing personal tracking devices for your children (yes, they are available), it seems prudent to know just what kinds of risks your children are facing. What are the chances that your son or daughter will be abused by someone they meet on the internet?

The following statistics and data were compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children Youth and Families in an annual report on child abuse cases. This data is from 2005 and can be found here: U.S. Abuse Statistics

There were 899,000 reported cases of child maltreatment reported. Of these, 62.8% were victims of neglect, 16.6% were victims of physical abuse, and 9.3% were victims of sexual abuse. The remaining number were victims of psychological or emotional abuse without an occurrence of the three other forms of maltreatment.

79.4% of the perpetrators of the child maltreatment were parents and 6.8% were other relatives of the child. 6% of the perpetrators were an unrelated caregiver to the child and only 7.8% of all perpetrators in this data sample fall under the "other" category which includes internet predators.

Using these percentages and the aggregate data, 70,122 children were victims of maltreatment at the hands of people other than parents, relatives, or unrelated caregivers. Using the abuse statistical percentages, the number of children sexually abused by these "other" people amounts to 6,521. The number of physical abuse occurrences is 11,640.

According to data collected by the U.S. Census bureau in July, 2005, there 73,534,240 people under the age of 18 living in the United States. Since the DHH study used data collected between the 0-17 age range, this statistic can be applied to the numbers we have come up with in order to create a rough estimate for the odds that your child will be physically or sexually abused by someone other than a parent, relative, or unrelated caregiver.

The odds that your child will be sexually abused by someone they don't know: 1 in 11,276
*put into perspective, that's around the same as the odds of someone bowling a perfect 300 or winning an Academy Award

The odds that your child will be physically abused by someone they don't know: 1 in 6,317
*put into perspective, your child is more likely to die from intentional self-harm

Also, take into account that the 7.8% of perpetrators of child maltreatment who the child did not know are not necessarily people they met on the internet. There is no way of knowing from the statistics if the perpetrator was someone the child met online or merely someone they ran into on the way home from school or other situation. It seems likely that with the amount of time it takes an online predator to gain the trust of a child to arrange a meeting, the occurrence of non-internet abuse (chance encounters, kidnappings, etc) is significantly higher. This would affect the odds of your child being abused by an internet predator significantly, as well. In conclusion, it's fairly safe to say that your child is fairly safe from online predators.

Odds of Dying in a Terrorist Attack

After 9/11, the fear of another attack on U.S. soil cleanly supplanted the fear of having one's penis chopped off by a vengeful lover in the pantheon of irrational American fears. While we're constantly being told that another attack is imminent and that radical Islamic fundamentalists are two steps away from establishing a caliphate in Branson, Missouri, just how close are they? How do the odds of dying in a terrorist attack stack up against the odds of dying in other unfortunate situations? Well, let's take a look.

The following ratios were compiled using data from 2004 National Safety Council (NSC) Estimates, a report based on data from The National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, 2003 mortality data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was used.

You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack

You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

You are six times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack

You are eight times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack

You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane

You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack

You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack

You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack

You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack

You are nine times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack

You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist