Friday, February 27, 2009

Saving the Saguaros

Feds to use computer chips to foil cactus thieves

TUCSON, Arizona (AP) -- Anyone thinking of swiping a stately saguaro cactus from the desert could soon be hauling off more than just a giant plant. National Park Service officials plan to imbed microchips in Arizona's signature plant to protect them from thieves who rip them from the desert to sell them to landscapers, nurseries and homeowners.

Saguaros are unique to the Sonoran Desert, 120,000 square miles covering portions of Arizona, California and the northern Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora. They're majestic giants that can grow to heights of 50 feet, sprout gaggles of arms and weigh several tons. They can take 50 years to flower and 70 years before sprouting an arm.

Plant pilferers typically target the relatively young and small specimens in the 4- to 7-foot range -- which are probably 30 to 50 years old. They typically can fetch $1,000 or more.

Monday, February 9, 2009

sexy economics

The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions

by Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F Katz*

---- Abstract -----
The fraction of U.S. college graduate women entering professional programs increased substantially around 1970 and the age at first marriage among all U.S. college graduate women soared just after 1972. We explore the relationship between these two changes and how each was shaped by the diffusion of the birth control pill among young, single college educated women. Although the pill' was approved in 1960 by the FDA and diffused rapidly among married women, it did not diffuse among young single women until the late 1960s when a series of state law changes reduced the age of majority and extended mature minor decisions. We model the impact of the pill on women's careers as consisting of two effects. The pill had a direct positive effect on women's career investment by almost eliminating the chance of becoming pregnant and thus the cost of having sex. The pill also created a social multiplier effect by encouraging the delay of marriage generally and thus increasing a career woman's likelihood of finding an appropriate mate after professional school. We present a collage of evidence pointing to the power of the pill in lowering the costs of long-duration professional education for women. The evidence consists of the striking coincidences in the timing of changes in career investment, marriage age, state laws, and pill use among young single women. The connection between changes in the age at first marriage and the pill is further explored using state variation in laws affecting young single women's pill access. We also evaluate alternative explanations for the changes in career and marriage.

*Published: Goldin, Claudia and Lawrence F. Katz. "The Power Of The Pill: Contraceptives And Women's Career And Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, 2002, v110(4,Aug), 730-770.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research $5

add to the reading pile

Buddhist nun joins forces with 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' author
The siblings' book, Rich Brother, Rich Sister, celebrates both business acumen and Eastern religion. The Long Beach nun wonders: 'Am I selling out?'

Sunday, February 1, 2009