Browsing All Posts published on »December, 2012«

Canaries in a Coal Mine IV: Alternative Explanations

December 20, 2012 by


This is the fourth and last installment in this series. To tell the truth, I will be glad to be done with it because shooting rampages is an inherently depressing subject, in more ways than one. However, it is also an important one. Today I need to review the alternative explanations of the pattern I […]

Bryan Vila: A Criminologist Comments on ‘Canaries in a Coal Mine’

December 18, 2012 by


Hello Peter, I’ve read the blog post and think it’s an interesting and well-presented idea. But before the evolutionary-ecologist/criminologist/historian in me could accept this as plausible, I’d want to account for three sets of causal forces. Here they are, in rough: I. Theoretical construct: Opportunity/Routine Activity: Any type of criminal act will tend to increase […]

Canaries in a Coal Mine III. Is the Trend Real?

December 17, 2012 by


Yesterday’s blog explained that the seemingly ‘senseless,’ ‘random’ nature of most shooting rampages is not senseless at all. Instead, the shooter is motivated by the logic of ‘social substitutability.’ In other words, random mass shootings are a variety of suicide terrorism. The aim of the terrorist is not to kill a specific person, but an […]

Canaries in a Coal Mine II. “We too are asking why”

December 16, 2012 by


We now  know the identity of the killer in the Sandy Hook School Massacre but are still in the dark about why he did it. Police said that they had found “very good evidence” which would answer questions about the motives of the gunman, but they haven’t yet released this evidence. As I said yesterday, […]

Canaries in a Coal Mine

December 15, 2012 by


This morning a horrible tragedy shook Newtown, a small town in Connecticut just 70 miles from where I live. An as yet unidentified gunman (there are conflicting reports of his identity) went on shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing nearly thirty people, most of them children. We may never find out what […]

Call for Papers: The Fourth International Conference on Cliodynamics, Vladivostok (May 20-22, 2013)

December 11, 2012 by

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The Fourth International Conference on Cliodynamics: Mathematical Modeling of Historical and Socioeconomic Processes will be held  in Vladivostok (Russian Federation) on May 20-22, 2013 (please note the change of dates from the previous announcement). The Conference will be hosted and supported by the Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok). (credit: The Conference will focus on […]

Why is Haiti So Poor?

December 9, 2012 by


In a previous blog I asked, why is Haiti a failed state? A related question is, why is Haiti so poor? It’s the poorest state in the Western Hemisphere. These two questions are clearly related, although the correlation between strong polity and strong economy is not perfect. There are wealthy countries whose central governments are […]


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