OSD 199: Recon by fire
On the latest episode of the T.Rex Talk podcast, Isaac interviewed Jay Idriss of Pew Science. Jay is a practicing structural engineer, and much of the podcast is about how Pew Science is bringing scientific rigor to silencer reviews. Around the 13:45 mark, Isaac makes the point that as a gun nerd, it’s exciting when you find out that your interest is as much science as art:
My personal journey feels similar to one that a lot of folks have gone on in the firearm industry, where we went from anecdotal data and fuddlore to…. As the information has become less secret and firearm hobbies are no longer a thing that you hide, they’re actually a thing that you talk about on Instagram and Facebook (to the extent that the overlords allow that, of course), people with understanding and areas of expertise … come along and are like, “Hey, I see that you are interested in x. I actually have spent the last ten years doing fluid dynamics research which allows me to explain to you what is happening inside this combustion chamber.”
And all of us basement nerds are like, “…Tell us more! There are tools that have been designed by rocket scientists to measure this stuff? Show us pictures!”
What that is is smart people applying good ideas to a new area. And what Isaac points out is that it’s really powerful when that happens in an industry that’s ripe for it.
Obviously, it brings new ideas to the industry.
Less obviously, it turbocharges the people in the industry who are smart and ambitious but need expertise. It unlocks those people’s talents.
The technological environment of the late 19th century was such that the brightest minds (and the highest returns) went to, among other things, gunmaking. (As an homage to this era, a few years ago someone wrote up Samuel Colt’s fictional application to Y Combinator.)
Today, we’re starting a shift back towards an era where an ambitious founder might choose to be the next Sam Colt. Guns are getting more popular. And as that compounds, we’re entering a feedback loop: more demand attracts smart founders, smart founders attract experts, experts help scale to meet demand and make better products. Rinse and repeat.
This week’s links
Almost all of the cities with available shooting data followed the national trend with large increases in murder in 2020. Murder rose in 2020 in 22 of the 25 cities with murder increasing by 15+ percent in the vast majority (21 of 25) of them. Murder increased by 40 percent or more in 14 of the cities in 2020, far eclipsing the national increase.
The trend for 2022 in these cities is more encouraging from a gun violence reduction standpoint. Shootings are down in 18 of the 25 cities with available data (72 percent) and many are seeing substantial declines. Shootings have dropped by 5 percent or more in 16 cities and 13 of the cities have had 10+ percent declines compared to just 3 cities having with an increase of 5 percent or more.
It’s super effective.
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