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Mathematician Predicts Wave of Violence In 2020

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the hope-spacex-rocket-rides-are-cheap-by-then dept.

Math 397

ananyo writes "In a feature that recalls Asimov's Foundation series and 'psychohistory', Nature profiles mathematician Peter Turchin, who says he can see meaningful cycles in history. Worryingly, Turchin predicts a wave of violence in the United States in 2020. Quoting from the piece: 'To Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, the appearance of three peaks of political instability at roughly 50-year intervals is not a coincidence. For the past 15 years, Turchin has been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator-prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and applying them to human history. He has analyzed historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence in the United States, and has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way. The peak should occur in about 2020, he says, and will probably be at least as high as the one in around 1970. 'I hope it won't be as bad as 1870,' he adds." We recently discussed similar research into predicting violence in the short term.

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It won't happen (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878161)

We already know the world ends on December 21, 2012, so why is he speculating about a future that won't even happen?

Re:It won't happen (2, Insightful)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878193)

Didn't the world already end? I coulda sworn...

Always be wary of extrapolating (5, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878171)

Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com] .

Re:Always be wary of extrapolating (3, Informative)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878177)

On that note, his sample size seems a bit small...

Re:Always be wary of extrapolating (5, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878489)

One can learn a great deal about Statistics by having multiple Statisticians perform multiple predictions based on a series of datasets with reduced sample sizes, all the way down to one sample.

(un)Surprisingly, the prediction accuracy is only very weakly related to the dataset accuracy, and varies wildly between predictioneers. One can thus conclude that Statistics are Statistically worthless.

Re:Always be wary of extrapolating (5, Informative)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878313)

Forget XKCD, here is the obligatory Mark Twain quote [twainquotes.com] !

Re:Always be wary of extrapolating (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878335)

Very true!

I just wish people would apply the same skepticism with the climate change extrapolations.

There are those of us who can see it coming (-1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878183)

The muslims in the west are just biding their time until they are strong enough to act like muslims in the middle east [thereligionofpeace.com] .

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878233)

The muslims in the west are just biding their time until they are strong enough to act like muslims in the middle east [thereligionofpeace.com] .

Heh.

One wonders why the Mayors of Chicago and Boston go off on fundamentalist Christian Chick-Fil-A, which voices opposition to gay marriage, but are silent against fundamentalist Islam extermination of gays themselves.

Probably because the Christians won't kill 'em.

Just ask Theo Van Gogh.

Oh, wait. You can't. Muzzies actually KILLED him.

Wonder if the Piss Christ artist has the balls to do a Shit Koran?

Yeah, we know the answer to that, don't we.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878269)

The muslims in the west are just biding their time until they are strong enough to act like muslims in the middle east [thereligionofpeace.com] .

Heh.

One wonders why the Mayors of Chicago and Boston go off on fundamentalist Christian Chick-Fil-A, which voices opposition to gay marriage, but are silent against fundamentalist Islam extermination of gays themselves.

Probably because the Christians won't kill 'em.

Just ask Theo Van Gogh.

Oh, wait. You can't. Muzzies actually KILLED him.

Wonder if the Piss Christ artist has the balls to do a Shit Koran?

Yeah, we know the answer to that, don't we.

Very true. The thing that gets me is that everyone knows that Islam is evil and violent, they know that they cannot criticism them for opposing gay marriage and so on, but they all pretend that Islam is just fine because they are sheep following the "PC" herd.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (5, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878321)

You are full of shit and hatred. There are over 2 million muslims in the USA who have been here for over 2 decades who haven't been "biding their time" to do anything. I have over a dozen muslim friends, their families came over here to get away from the B.S. at home and to live a happy non-violent life in a prosperous country. they excel in business and academics, asian people tend to be funny that way (there is a racial stereotype for you, and it's a useful generalization)

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878447)

So you have 13 muslim friends and that somehow makes you an authority? What an arrogant prick you must be in real life.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878485)

And what makes you an authority on the matter? Fuck, you don't even have the balls to post with an account.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878531)

I'm not an authority but I'm not pretending to be either. I do however have sense enough to be aware of what goes on in the world. Newsflash moron: the earth doesn't end at the end of your basement. I'm sure an asperger little faggot like you doesn't care but people are dying right this very moment because of some shit a pedophile wrote down in a book 1400 years ago. Homosexuals are being legally harassed, women are being legally oppressed and your white ass just doesn't give a fuck. Well, some people have a conscience and they do care. So eat shit, turd.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (1)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878573)

Im not sure if I should laugh at this or what? You start your sycophantic rant with "Asperger little faggot" and then end it with "Homosexuals are being legally harassed.....some people have a conscience..." Did I really just read this?

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878619)

Unlike you, aspy, some people don't obsess on the prosaic definition of every little word and see the difference between faggot being a pejorative in one context and being a highly offensive insult to homosexuals in another. If you knew anything about gays and really gave a fuck about their plight both in your own little hellhole you call a country and in countries they are even less fortunate to find themselves in, you'd realize that they in fact use the word faggot just like black people call each other "nigga" as a way of taking the bite out of the word and co-opting the definition of it. But you don't give a shit just like your girlfriends above don't You just want to make points and win an argument all the while real people are suffering. FUCK YOU prick.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878647)

All I've got to say is that you are stupid fucking moron. God your family must absolutely fucking hate you.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878681)

Oh, yeah, you really showed me with that one. Any more pearls you fucking jackass? How about growing up, son and give your dad his laptop back he probably doesn't appreciate you shitting all over his slashdot account like this.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878825)

You basically slander a billion people and when cornered on it try to shut up your opponents with being autistic homosexuals, before explaining how bad it is for homosexuals. You're a loud mouthed halfwit

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (2)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878869)

Take your meds.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878635)

We were hardly any better 100 years ago, and there are no lack of Westerners who wouldn't mind seeing homosexuals shoved back in the closet.

And what is with these Aspergers accusations?

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878661)

We were hardly any better 100 years ago, and there are no lack of Westerners who wouldn't mind seeing homosexuals shoved back in the closet.

Really? [thereligionofpeace.com] Really you piece of shit? That is recent picture in Egypt of homosexuals being loaded into a van and carried off. Legally. As in there is no one to run from as this is state sanctioned. Now imagine yourself as one of those men and fucking tell me that you want to drag shit up from a century ago. News Flash: people from a hundred years ago are all dead. This is happening RIGHT NOW. Yes, aspy, because one of the defining characteristics of asperger's syndrome is an inability to empathize. GO SEE A SHRINK.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878835)

Frankly you're showing more signs of Aspergers than anyone else here.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878613)

You are full of shit and hatred. There are over 2 million muslims in the USA who have been here for over 2 decades who haven't been "biding their time" to do anything. I have over a dozen muslim friends, their families came over here to get away from the B.S. at home and to live a happy non-violent life in a prosperous country. they excel in business and academics, asian people tend to be funny that way (there is a racial stereotype for you, and it's a useful generalization)

Yet you call yourself "rubycodez".

Bwaahahahahah!

What does that "z" signify? Coolness? WIth RUBY?!?!?!?!?!

OUh oh! Watch out for rubycodez leet Ruby skillz!!!!

BWAAA HAAA HAHAHA!!!

Do you even know what a register is?

BWAHAHAHAHHAHHA

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878685)

You are full of shit and hatred. There are over 2 million muslims in the USA who have been here for over 2 decades who haven't been "biding their time" to do anything. I have over a dozen muslim friends, their families came over here to get away from the B.S. at home and to live a happy non-violent life in a prosperous country. they excel in business and academics, asian people tend to be funny that way (there is a racial stereotype for you, and it's a useful generalization)

Yeah, sure.

So you got the balls to create a work of art called Shit Koran under your real name?

Hell, do you even have the balls to simply read about Theo Van Gogh [wikipedia.org] ?

Nah, you don't. That would require you to open your closed I'm-so-much-better-than-you mind.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878867)

There are over 2 million muslims in the USA who have been here for over 2 decades who haven't been "biding their time" to do anything.

Explain Dearborn, MI [wikipedia.org] please.

You are partially correct... in that they haven't been biding their time... It appears they are actively persecuting every person that does not conform to their beliefs.

Obvious FUDster is obvious.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878327)

Very true. The thing that gets me is that everyone knows that Islam is evil and violent, they know that they cannot criticism them for opposing gay marriage and so on, but they all pretend that Islam is just fine because they are sheep following the "PC" herd.

Let me break it down for you. Christians are white therefore it is perfectly politically correct to demonize them. Contrast this with muslims. I'm not trying to conflate your viewpoint with racism and I wish there were a better explanation because I do not consider myself a racist but that's the explanation occam's razor leads me to.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (2)

captainkoloth (99341) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878535)

Let me break it down for you. Christians are white therefore it is perfectly politically correct to demonize them. Contrast this with muslims. I'm not trying to conflate your viewpoint with racism and I wish there were a better explanation because I do not consider myself a racist but that's the explanation occam's razor leads me to.

Well, that can't be right. My family is Baptist and Negro.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878589)

Probably inbred too if you don't have sense enough to parse the GP post without having every little nuance of the argument spelled out to you.

One also wonders (5, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878371)

Why those Mayors discuss feeding their city's poor but are silent on starvation in Africa. Come off it people, you fight battles you can win. I'm sure they'd love to spread tolerance throughout the world, but their Mayors, not God-Kings.

Speaking of religion, have you ever actually read the Christian Bible? You can do all sorts of things to people you don't like and it's A-OK. And don't forget, blacks weren't people until the last 1970, so says Mitt Romney (or at least his religion). Every religion that's existed for any length of time has terrible things in it's dogma.

We're not pretending Islam is just fine. But we're rationalists. Give people enough food, shelter and some discretionary income for hobbies and they mellow out. Ever wonder why terrorists don't send deep cover moles over here? It's because give them a taste of good life and they stop being psychotic extremists. The challenge is giving that life to everybody. Not just the vague promise that you might have a chance at it that economic conservatives and 'libertarians' favor, but the real thing.

Re:One also wonders (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878639)

We're not pretending Islam is just fine. But we're rationalists. Give people enough food, shelter and some discretionary income for hobbies and they mellow out. Ever wonder why terrorists don't send deep cover moles over here? It's because give them a taste of good life and they stop being psychotic extremists. The challenge is giving that life to everybody. Not just the vague promise that you might have a chance at it that economic conservatives and 'libertarians' favor, but the real thing.

I find your comfort level with what is essentially buying people off a bit disturbing.

Re:One also wonders (3, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878865)

Ever wonder why terrorists don't send deep cover moles over here? It's because give them a taste of good life and they stop being psychotic extremists. The challenge is giving that life to everybody.

Deep cover moles as you see them in the movies? No. They are not send over. Sending people? Yes, that does happen. They send some people over to learn how to fly planes into building.
Other terrorists are not send over. They are already here. They were born here. Also one terrorist is not like the other.

Despite with what the media is telling you, not all people want the life of the west. I would not like to have the 'freedom' that the US has. And even if they don't want it, does not mean that they want to destroy it. They just don't want it in their own country, so why would they come to a country that they do not care about. It is not THEIR center of the universe.

And some people just want to see the world burn.

Re:One also wonders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878903)

I can't believe your comment was marked insightful. It is clear that you are misinformed and hang out on the Reddit echo chamber but you are not on Slashdot.

  1. Mitt's book does not condone or justify the murder of persecution of people you don't like. I think you have it confused with imperialism.
  2. The 9-11 hi-jackers came here and lived the 'good American life' and they didn't mellow out. Some of them lived and worked here for over 1.5 years with their families. They had cash and even went to flight school. They didn't mellow. I think that is why they are called 'sleeper cells.' They had a taste of the good life and decided to destroy it.

As for you comment on the good life. Do you have a car? Possibly a 2-car garage? Do you have 24x7 electricity, clothes, shelter, climate control, medicine, health care, clean water, food, education, access to a non-corrupt legal system, the ability to speak freely or practice your religion, the right to own weapons, the right to free elections? In the USA we have the good life and each and every day we should be thankful that we weren't born in Mexico, China, Russia, India, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Africa, Myanmar etc ... While I will agree that we have corruption in our political system we still have the right to vote and the power of the Internet. However, we still seem to be content with Democrats and Republicans which are two sides of the same coin and owned by the same banksters.

Go out and visit the world, you'll be glad to be back. :)

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878501)

It's hilarious that chrisq is talking to himself here to make his hateful posts and responding to himself with anonymous like thats going to fool anyone. fuck off chrisq. you aren't fooling anyone you piece of shit. go talk to yourself in the mirror asshole.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878561)

So, you're the roving AC that wrote this [slashdot.org] post? You're really on a roll with the harassment today punk bitch.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878615)

did you just do it again chrisq? Or is this Chrisq? You all will never know because Chrisq is a turd.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878625)

What's wrong, fuckboy? Anybody that disagrees with you must be a sockpuppet? What an insecure little bitch you must be.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (5, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878671)

The muslims in the west are just biding their time until they are strong enough to act like muslims in the middle east [thereligionofpeace.com] .

Heh.

One wonders why the Mayors of Chicago and Boston go off on fundamentalist Christian Chick-Fil-A, which voices opposition to gay marriage, but are silent against fundamentalist Islam extermination of gays themselves.

Probably because the Christians won't kill 'em.

Just ask Theo Van Gogh.

Oh, wait. You can't. Muzzies actually KILLED him.

Wonder if the Piss Christ artist has the balls to do a Shit Koran?

Yeah, we know the answer to that, don't we.

Very true. The thing that gets me is that everyone knows that Islam is evil and violent, they know that they cannot criticism them for opposing gay marriage and so on, but they all pretend that Islam is just fine because they are sheep following the "PC" herd.

Let me rephrase that to make ti a bit more on-topic:

Very true. The thing that gets me is that everyone knows that humans are evil and violent, they know that they cannot criticize them for opposing gay marriage and so on, but they all pretend that humanity is just fine because they are sheep following the "PC" herd.

Point being: people are greedy and violent and abuse power structures. The degree to which this happens in a given society seems to go in cyclic 2-generational waves, and this mathematician has found a way to model it. The rhetoric in this thread ascribing human faults to specific people groups (faith based or ethic based) and pointing out specific failings inside these groups is totally beside the point. If there were no non-white muslims living in the US, there'd be someone else, and the rhetoric would be almost identical. Eventually, the overall level of societal dissatisfaction with the way these issues are resolved by "peaceable" means will come to a head, and people will look to physical solutions. This will carry on until there is a majority formed who share strong core societal values that they then shove down the throats of everyone else, at which point "peace" returns and "everyone" is happy.

They say history repeats itself, and in this case they (and this mathematician) appear to be spot-on.

What these models don't factor in especially well though, is population density. I'd like to see this guy do a slightly more complex model that ties in the affects of density on the level and duration of the violence.

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878555)

Heh.

One wonders why the Mayors of Chicago and Boston go off on fundamentalist Christian Chick-Fil-A, which voices opposition to gay extermination of gays themselves.

Because Extermination Mart isn't trying to open a franchise in their city. Forgive them their narrow interests for some reason.

Do you REALLY want the Mayors of Chicago and Boston and other cities engaging in fixing the world's problems, or do you want them to stick with things within their remit? Oh you do really want them?

Fine, what's the Mayor of your favorite Conservative Red-Blooded American city done about the problem?

Oh wait, nothing except shut down a few women's health clinics.

How did that help?

No, sorry, your bias shows.

But hey, why don't we ask Matthew Shepard his feelings. Oh wait, somebody killed him? Fine, let's ask George Tiller. Oh wait, he's dead too? Sorry, but the list of the dead has some of your names on it too.

What have you done to stop Fred Phelps or Eric Rudolh or anybody else?

Why are you silent?

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878337)

You mean all those Muslims who, much like the Minutemen and colonists, have risen up and overthrown oppressive regimes in many middle eastern countries?

Re:There are those of us who can see it coming (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878429)

You mean all those Muslims who, much like the Minutemen and colonists, have risen up and overthrown oppressive regimes in many middle eastern countries?

Ha ha ha .. tell that to the non-Muslims in those countries. They were actually a lot better off under the "oppressive regimes"

completely idiotic (3, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878185)

This is the stupidest made up bullshit I've ever heard. At 50 year intervals, the sample size is like 3 or something. That's well within the range of coincidence! Since people going totally apeshit doesn't happen for no reason, I'd say it's more reason based than some natural recurring phenomenon based on time.

Re:completely idiotic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878221)

It just makes me so angry! If they keep up this nonsense for another 8 years, I think it might push me over the top!

Re:completely idiotic (4, Interesting)

musicalmicah (1532521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878297)

Also, where's the peak at 1820? I suppose there was the War of 1812 (lasted until 1815) but he's already excluded war from his chart.

Re:completely idiotic (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878631)

His graph shows the Napoleonic wars and World War II as points of relatively low violence, so the solution is obvious: you can avoid the next wave of violence by going to war with China.

Re:completely idiotic (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878333)

Patterns! Patterns everywhere! Ahhhhhhh!

Thinks he sees patterns in history (1)

QuincyDurant (943157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878351)

"Thinks he sees"? Doesn't that strongly suggest that we're dealing with a lunatic here?

Re:completely idiotic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878377)

But it might be true! So we had better hurry up and take everyone's guns away, because that will keep us safe from all this violence!

(sorry for making this political. Well, I guess, not really.)

Re:completely idiotic (2)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878569)

Past explanations were due to crop productivity related to long-period oscillations in ocean currents (El Nino / La Nina). [wikipedia.org]

Major ENSO events were recorded in the years 1790–93, 1828, 1876–78, 1891, 1925–26, 1972–73, 1982–83, 1997–98 and 2009–2010,[50] with 1997-1998 being one of the strongest ever.

Going by the wiki page, 2020-2025 should also be a El Nino period

Re:completely idiotic (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878595)

Yup, probably 'cause his degrees are in bioscience, not math. . .

Re:completely idiotic (3, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878757)

I think his "50 year" number is a bit odd, as it's based on absolutely no foundation, other than a few loose correlations.

Instead, he should model it like you do for animal patterns: generational trends.

It makes a lot of sense that violence would peak every two generations... which these days, is about every 50 years. If people start having children later, I'd expect that number to get larger... and if people start having children younger, I'd expect it to be shorter.

Added to that, he tossed out war, but war will have an extremely powerful influence on this pattern -- it probably won't distort it too much in the long-term, but it will definitely affect the surrounding periods of incidence.

Re:completely idiotic (1)

yanom (2512780) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878889)

The danger here, of course, is that this type of thing will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Predicting violence is easy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878189)

It will happen.

If you're vague enough about your predictions... you won't be wrong often.

Not necessarily (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878411)

People who have options don't get violent. Not in mass anyway (yes, chemical imbalances will result in the occasional horror story like that Batman shooting). That's why Canadians are so well behaved. They feel secure in their well being thanks to an extensive safety net and healthcare system. Systemic violence is an outgrowth of poverty. The single most enlightening moment of my life was when I realized that every war ever fought was over money in one form or another.

e.g. the American South wasn't fighting to defend slavery, but to defend the right to oppress blacks. Blacks were oppressed not for the economic benefit (immigrants where cheaper and disposable) but because it gave poor white southerns someone to look down on and kept them from asking questions like, how come I barely make it through the winter while that guy sips mint juleps? Don't take my word for it, google Karl Rove and the Southern Strategy.

Re:Not necessarily (-1, Troll)

Xenkar (580240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878593)

I hate to burst your "white man is the evil" bubble, but I'm pretty sure the South seceded from the union not over some slaves that Jewish slave traders brought over which a minority of the population owned, but over crippling tariffs on British goods. The South mainly got the stuff it couldn't make on its own from England.

Re:Not necessarily (3, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878673)

I doubt it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_and_the_slave_trade [wikipedia.org] . But nice try at blaming the Jews once again for everything bad that ever happened. I guess when you're proud of a slave-trading past you have to reframe the whole discussion so as not to appear inhuman.

Re:Not necessarily (2, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878641)

Systemic violence is an outgrowth of poverty...

No, poverty is the result of systemic violence. You have to steal from people to make them poor.

Re:Not necessarily (3, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878783)

People who have options don't get violent. Not in mass anyway (yes, chemical imbalances will result in the occasional horror story like that Batman shooting). That's why Canadians are so well behaved. They feel secure in their well being thanks to an extensive safety net and healthcare system. Systemic violence is an outgrowth of poverty. The single most enlightening moment of my life was when I realized that every war ever fought was over money in one form or another.

e.g. the American South wasn't fighting to defend slavery, but to defend the right to oppress blacks. Blacks were oppressed not for the economic benefit (immigrants where cheaper and disposable) but because it gave poor white southerns someone to look down on and kept them from asking questions like, how come I barely make it through the winter while that guy sips mint juleps? Don't take my word for it, google Karl Rove and the Southern Strategy.

Um... you do know about things like the Vancouver Riots (mk I and II) right? Canadians might not be as brutally violent as their neighbours to the south, but they tend to be just as physically violent. The difference is that population density in Canada is much lower (except at major sporting events, where, surprise! you end up getting violence).

A better case study would be somewhere like Singapore that has a high population density, but relatively low societal violence.

Re:Predicting violence is easy. (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878609)

We predict that the United States of America will become balkanized beginning around 2017, rendering his prediction null and void. This will be aggravated by those economically crippling interest rate swaps/derivatives perpetrated on cities and munipalities by the bankster class.

Government needs to be slapped down again? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878191)

Let's see:

1. "Extrajudicial" killing of US citizens
2. Use of drones against US citizens
3. Cameras recording activities
4. Government snooping into private conversations

Good damn thing there is a 2nd Amendment.

Re:Government needs to be slapped down again? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878375)

Let's see:

1. "Extrajudicial" killing of US citizens
2. Use of drones against US citizens
3. Cameras recording activities
4. Government snooping into private conversations

Good damn thing there is a 2nd Amendment.

I don't know why you were modded down. Maybe because your list left out too many other reasons why the Govt needs to be slapped down.

Re:Government needs to be slapped down again? (4, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878665)

2. Use of drones against US citizens

This is fodder for some good discussion right here, and Id like to get something cleared up.

I understand the importance of jury trial and the dangers of an unchecked government. I understand that the last thing you want is an executive that can freely ignore the judicial branch.

But if a US citizen in 1942 were to go and fight for the Nazi's, and lets say he became a high-up officer-- would we not be justified in going after his life "extrajudicially"? What if a US citizen went to Mexico and became a higher up in the militarized drug cartels (lets not turn this into a discussion on drug politics)-- would we be justified in assisting in his death if capture were not an easy option? What if in those situations the choice was between his death, and him going free?

It seems to me there IS some line for when someone takes up arms in a foreign theatre against US forces; I might be wrong here, which is why Im hoping for constructive responses which could demonstrate my error if there is one.

Re:Government needs to be slapped down again? (4, Interesting)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878667)

Good damn thing there is a 2nd Amendment

I'm all for second amendment rights but I really don't think they are going to help with any of these things. If we can't live together as a society without the threat of violence, there is not much hope of maintaining a stable, long-lasting state. It is violence spurred by political unrest and divisiveness that the OP is predicting, go figure.

Re:Government needs to be slapped down again? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878891)

Agreed. Should the US ever become a police state (which is never going to happen, IMO) your collection of handguns will not help you defend yourself against a SWAT team.

Re:Government needs to be slapped down again? (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878829)

Fuck you.

You think you can just start murdering people to fix all your problems. It doesn't work that way. You spill blood, and other people will fight back, and we'll end up in a 3rd world hellhole for a century. You will not live to see a return to peace. None of us will.

Go visit other countries, if you think things here are bad. See hundreds of millions of people living in shantytowns. See the bribery that is required on a daily basis. See people sentenced to years in prison because they spoke out against Putin or Ahmadinejad or some other despot. See life behind the Great Firewall, or in Brazil where it is illegal to be anonymous.

Life in the US is unbelievably wonderful compared to damn near everywhere else in the world. And you want to destroy that, because of some fucking security cameras? Well thank God for those cameras! I hope some are pointed squarely at you. As soon as you seek to end a human life, you deserve to be taken away and locked up in a place where the world can forget you.

Heard this one before (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878229)

And if I flipped ten heads in a row the next one must surely be tails right? Right?

Re:Heard this one before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878329)

No as the most tails I have flipped is 17. So it must be heads.

It's revolution time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878259)

Is this when we overthrow our lords and masters?

Re:It's revolution time. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878421)

No. Now get back in the kitchens, I don't want my friends to see me talking to the help.

Not scientific, but not unreasonable (3, Informative)

sehryan (412731) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878263)

While I agree that the sample size is small, there is certainly reason to think that if the political discourse continues as it is now, in eight years we could be in for that talk to start manifesting itself physically.

Mark your calenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878273)

Lets prove'em wrong boys!

Stupid (3, Funny)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878279)

Uh duh, the Aztecs already did this, the world is ending in 2012.

Percentage of Population Between 15 and 25... (1)

littlewink (996298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878287)

determines the likelihood of violent crime. There's probably a peak (a baby boom) in that statistic in 2020.

Easy, no mathematician required.

I wonder if this cycle follows (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878289)

I wonder if this cycle follows the wave of economic depressions? It would make sense that people with less to lose who are hit by the recession and see others making more money from it might become restless

Buried in Last Paragraph (5, Interesting)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878295)

FTA: "For example, it seems that indicators of corruption increase and political cooperation unravels when a period of instability or violence is imminent."

Why do articles like this act as though "violent acts" were the essential force, and "corruption" some kind of indicator symptom? I submit that the latter is the cause and the former the resulting symptom.

The article includes this viewpoint, but you have to get all the way to the very last paragraph to see it -- "But perhaps revolution is the best, if not the only, remedy for severe social stresses. Gintis points out that he is old enough to have taken part in the most recent period of turbulence in the United States, which helped to secure civil rights for women and black people. Elites have been known to give power back to the majority, he says, but only under duress, to help restore order after a period of turmoil. “I'm not afraid of uprisings,” he says. “That's why we are where we are.”"

BAH! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878299)

The peak will reach that of the 1860s before it begins to calm down a bit. We only do violence for 'humanitarian' reasons.

Re:BAH! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878315)

Oops.. just recognized the 8 in the summary

Critical mass of Muslims attained? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878301)

Why, will Muslims be 10% of the US population by then? Because going by countries like Thailand, Philippines, among others, that's all it will take

compare resources per person (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878305)

Politics and divisions between people are not the cause of war. (Politics is how we operate as a society and it can be good or bad. If politics turns from good to bad and then to war, the cause of war is what caused the change from good to bad politics).

Similarly, the differences between groups, say Sunni and Shi'ite to let Americans off the hook, does not _cause_ the fighting between them. They live together side by side in other countries and they live together side by side in the same country before and after the fighting.

The root cause of war is having fewer resources per person this year than last year. How we move from less money to war is done politically and part of the politics is finding a group to place blame on, but the underlying cause is not politics or divisions between groups.

(For folks who think divisions between people should go away, consider there are 950 different Christian religions and 700 different Islamic ones. None of them, not a single one, was created by non-believers or dis-believers. All 1600 religions were created by true believers. Belief is not a solution).

Re:compare resources per person (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878539)

You could simplify it down to "virtually all wars are essentially economic."

I don't care... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878317)

I don't care. I live in a mountainous region of Europe, where tanks and helicopters are useless. I've got enough ammo for two zombie apocalypses. Worst case is no Slashdot.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878331)

I have a hard time believing a "Mathematician" is making predictions based on such a limited sample size. This is kind of like the Gambler's Fallacy. Past occurrences are not really indicative of future patterns. This is the same for gambling, stock performance, whatever.

Psychohistory (4, Insightful)

clintp (5169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878361)

Of course, psychohistory doesn't work if you publish the results -- so all of this is bullshit. This implies that the psychohistorical result is actually not violence in 2020, but something else that they're trying to steer us towards. Maybe this is also why we're not supposed to be aware that psychohistory exists.

Back to the Prime Radiant, guys.

Income inequality. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878449)

If the current trend of inequal distribution of wealth continues then yes, we will see increased violence. It's a formula that's a old as civilzation itself. Poverty is and always has been the root cause of most crime, including violent crime. (Some of it is due to crazy. You will always have jealousy, rich people shoplifting for thrills, adultery, etc)

Whatever your political creed or economic philosophy, you must recognize that gross wealth inequality /always/ leads to bad things. It's a common theme of all civilizations world wide throughout all recorded history. It's the destroyer of nations. It's the murder of kings. It's the ruin of the most mighty military forces. It's the trigger of violent, bloody revolution where the innocent and the guilty both suffer alike.

Our country used to recognize this function but in the last few decades it's been ignored wholesale. The rich are getting very very rich and have somehow convinced everyone that they "deserve" it while our nation stumbles with infective public programs and crumbling infrastructure. Wealth redistribution used to be a clear, stated goal of our government and now, somehow that idea is taboo and evil.

Utterly Stupid (2)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878459)

Linear time is useless to predict cyclic anything where modern human society is involved. Ten years of innovation today (and its effects on society) is greater than thirty years of innovation two hundred years ago. The scale just isn't linear. Nothing has a significant long term stable frequency.

If you are a cicada, you have reasonable grounds to disagree. Sadly, you can't talk and aren't real big in the innovation space.

Re:Utterly Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878859)

I'm not sure I believe it, but I think the argument goes like this: The main source of a stable period is generational effects. Think of social feedback as an epigenetic process. Perhaps there is something in human psychology that prevents individuals from fully reacting to social change, and instead it is their children who grow up with the effects and formulate a complete response.

I HOPE its worse than the 1970s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878467)

We really ought to have some violence and riots over what the feds are trying to do to ruin the internet.

1870? What about 1861??? (2)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878477)

The outbreak of the US Civil War was only 9 years before the cited "1870" and 4 years before the earliest year that TFA could have associated with 1870 since the graph describes the years as "5 year intervals".

Moreover, it was a unique peak in US history.

This guy's model needs an overhaul -- either that or its intend use is useless for phenomena that are really interesting.

U$A paranoid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878511)

at its outmost...

I get it . . . (0)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878549)

. . . so it's been peaceful up until now????? (What a complete douchetard!)

That reminds me of all those moronic polls falsely claiming crime is dropping --- as long as they refuse to prosecute the millions upon millions of crimes perpetrated by the banksters, of course the dramatically rising criminal rate will appear to be falling. . .

Re:I get it . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878707)

Bring back the murder and assault! Down with funny money crimes!

Correlation is Not Causation (3, Insightful)

ancarett (221103) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878559)

As a historian with a lot of statistical study under my belt, call me skeptical. I don't see how we're able to make the leap from his observations to cycles at work in wildly variant institutions and cultures. This sounds an awful lot like the wide-eyed promise of cliometrics to revolutionize history starting in the 1950s.

In the mid-twentieth century, cliometrics (ah, look how much it reads like cliodynamics!) was going to save us all from the loosey-goosey styles of history that just weren't as good as honest-to-gosh social science. (This is why many mid-twentieth century universities placed history in their social science faculties rather than humanities where it was categorized in older university systems.) Certainly, learning how to handle large data sets and tackle questions of change over time with accurate analysis has been good, but stats wasn't the smoking gun to solve historical debates. Look how hard some of the great works of cliometrics crashed and burned when they tried to assert a grand rule of human behaviour: just two examples off of the top of my head, the Tilly's "The Rebellious Century, 1830-1930" which tried to unify the study of European revolutions over a century or Theda Skocpol's "States and Social Revolution: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China" which claimed that you could come up with a universalizing analysis of authoritarian state collapse. Both are interesting and ambitious books but ultimately unconvincing as they attempted to assert a general rule-set for history.

Now we're told that cliodynamics is going to solve the problem. Again, as the original article notes, most trained historians are skeptical. It's not just that we like futzing around with old documents, it's that we're aware of the weaknesses in ongoing research, holes in observations and the biases in the data. You want to point to huge amounts of populist violence in the U.S. circa 1920 as proof that it was a high in a fifty year cycle? I and other historians can point to stunning outbreaks a decade earlier related to the anarchist movements and a decade later with the unrest regarding the Great Depression. It's not so much cherry-picking counter examples: it's the wrongheaded concept of seeing people as pawns of historical forces. Asimov was fun to read, I'll grant you, but I'd hope that people can see that human agency has an awful lot more to do with historical change than the rules of psychohistory.

Stop looking for general rules of what's going to come next and consider, instead, clear-sighted analysis of how we've come to where we are and what that tells us about problems we've had and continue to experience.

Hmmmm.... (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878581)

Interesting background which Turchin has: Turchin was born in Obninsk, Russia, in 1957 and in 1963 moved to Moscow. In 1975 he entered the Faculty of Biology of the Moscow State University and studied there until 1977, when his father, the Soviet dissident Valentin Turchin, was exiled from the USSR. He got his B.A. in biology from the New York University (cum laude) in 1980 and Ph.D. in zoology in 1985 from Duke University.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Turchin [wikipedia.org]

This was on Doctor Who already (3, Interesting)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878585)

1888: Jack the Ripper active
1913: The eve of the First World War
1938: Hitler annexes Austria
1963: Kennedy assassinated
1988: The Lockerbie bombing

It's 2013 we need to worry about, sheeple!

A la Terminator? (1)

Saija (1114681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878587)

The publication of this article by some way reminds me of the Terminator: the publication of some possible future events make that events happen, or alter them in some way

I think Mr. Math Genius missed something obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878601)

Has anyone else noticed that the two world wars are completely absent in this "cycles of violence" graph?

Title gets it wrong (5, Informative)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878649)

The guy isn't a mathematician, he's an ecologist. And I find it hard to believe that by 2020, social acceptance of domestic violence (say) rises again to mid-20th century levels. The reporter's suggestion that the precise moment in time of the Egyptian revolution was predictable is likely based on a misunderstanding of Turchin's work.

By the way, the field isn't as new as the article suggests. Steven Pinker's recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, collects quite a bit of quantitative research in this area, most of which does not support the existence of stable cycles.

seems plausible (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878751)

With the slowly churning unrest in lower classes these days, it seems quite possible that it will end up going somewhere.

It's too bad it's unlikely that a revolution could come of it, in the us at least. It's equally too bad that I would probably disagree with whomever would end up in charge, were that to happen.

Sounds like Psychohistory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40878801)

Hari seldon would be jealous.

contradictory opinion (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40878809)

From the article, here is the opinion of historians who disagree with this guy, probably worth reading:

Cliodynamics is viewed with deep scepticism by most academic historians, who tend to see history as a complex stew of chance, individual foibles and one-of-a-kind situations that no broad-brush 'science of history' will ever capture.....Most think that phenomena such as political instability should be understood by constructing detailed narratives of what actually happened — always looking for patterns and regularities, but never forgetting that each outbreak emerged from a particular time and place.

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