Monday, June 5, 2017

Increase in deployment & combat injuries for white and Hispanic soldiers relative to black ones & for soldiers from high-income neighborhoods relative to those from low-income ones

Who Will Fight? The All-Volunteer Army after 9/11. By Susan Payne Carter, Alexander Smith & Carl Wojtaszek
American Economic Review, May 2017, Pages 415-419
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.p20171082

Abstract: Who fought the War on Terror? We find that as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan progressed, there was an increase in the fraction of active-duty Army enlistees who were white or from high-income neighborhoods and that these two groups selected combat occupations more often. Among men, we find an increase in deployment and combat injuries for white and Hispanic soldiers relative to black soldiers and for soldiers from high-income neighborhoods relative to those from low-income neighborhoods. This finding suggests that an all-volunteer force does not compel a disproportionate number of non-white and low socio-economic men to fight America's wars.

IV.  Discussion
Today's all-volunteer force represents a diverse group of individuals serving for both patriotic and economic reasons. For those with fewer economic opportunities, a steady job may be the deciding factor in their enlistment decision; while for those with more outside options, wartime service may shape their deci- sion. Concerns over equity could arise under the  all-volunteer system if these enlistment motivations are differentially distributed across demographic groups. While we cannot uncover the distribution of these motivations, we can observe which groups bear the burden of war. Were the first sustained conflicts of the AVF.Iraq and Afghanistan..poor man.s fights.? To the contrary, during this time period it does not appear that there was an undue burden placed on blacks or individuals from low-income neighborhoods. The percentages of black and low-income enlistees decreased as fighting intensified, with these trends stopping when outside labor market opportunities diminished during the Great Recession and combat risk decreased. These trends were the same for men and women, although black women continued to be over-represented in the Army relative to the general population. Furthermore, black and low-income enlisted men were less likely than their white and high-income peers to be deployed or injured in combat. These differences are driven primarily by the military occupation an individual enters: black and low-income men were less likely to choose combat-intensive occupations than their white and high-income peers with the same eligibility.

Will the high-tech cities of the future be utterly lonely?

Will the high-tech cities of the future be utterly lonely? By Jessica Brown
The Week, April 24, 2017
http://theweek.com/articles/689527/hightech-cities-future-utterly-lonely

In Britain, more than one in eight people say they don't consider anyone a close friend, and the number of Americans who say they have no close friends has roughly tripled in recent decades. A large proportion of the lonely are young; almost two-thirds of 16- to 24-year-old Brits said they feel lonely at least some of the time, while almost a third are lonely often or all the time.


Healthy offspring from freeze-dried mouse spermatozoa held on the International Space Station for 9 months

Healthy offspring from freeze-dried mouse spermatozoa held on the International Space Station for 9 months
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/05/16/1701425114.full

Significance: Radiation on the International Space Station (ISS) is more than 100 times stronger than at the Earth’s surface, and at levels that can cause DNA damage in somatic cell nuclei. The damage to offspring caused by this irradiation in germ cells has not been examined, however. Here we preserved mouse spermatozoa on the ISS for 9 mo. Although sperm DNA was slightly damaged during space preservation, it could be repaired by the oocyte cytoplasm and did not impair the birth rate or normality of the offspring. Our results demonstrate that generating human or domestic animal offspring from space-preserved spermatozoa is a possibility, which should be useful when the “space age” arrives.

Abstract: If humans ever start to live permanently in space, assisted reproductive technology using preserved spermatozoa will be important for producing offspring; however, radiation on the International Space Station (ISS) is more than 100 times stronger than that on Earth, and irradiation causes DNA damage in cells and gametes. Here we examined the effect of space radiation on freeze-dried mouse spermatozoa held on the ISS for 9 mo at –95 °C, with launch and recovery at room temperature. DNA damage to the spermatozoa and male pronuclei was slightly increased, but the fertilization and birth rates were similar to those of controls. Next-generation sequencing showed only minor genomic differences between offspring derived from space-preserved spermatozoa and controls, and all offspring grew to adulthood and had normal fertility. Thus, we demonstrate that although space radiation can damage sperm DNA, it does not affect the production of viable offspring after at least 9 mo of storage on the ISS.